What’s Your Secret? (depression, part 1 of 5)

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“Our secrets keep us sick.” Anonymous  (Photo by Jeff Watkins)

The first time I admitted my secret, I was in a spiritual meeting with several women friends who nodded while I shared five minutes of my story. Until that morning, I labeled my depression a funk, feeling kind of blue, being down and out, a gloomy mood.

I joked about being stalked by the Zoloft cloud. Laughter is healing, but I wasn’t able to laugh away depression. I kept hearing “You have to feel to heal.”

I was feeling, although not like intended by the quote.

I felt ashamed. I hated being depressed.

My life is too good for this, I thought again and again. In fact, I thought a lot of stuff … God can’t be happy I’m squandering away my time feeling sorry for myself … the situations I blamed for feeling sad are long gone, so get over it … and for goodness sake, get some exercise beyond dragging myself to the shower.

The hardest part was guarding the secret. My husband ignored it because he was afraid. He couldn’t fix depression like he had our squeaky front door. I didn’t let our kids know because what could they do? Friends didn’t need to know. After all, whining wears a relationship out pretty fast.

All this convincing kept me quiet and isolated.

This also happens when you’re drinking five, six, seven drinks every night, knowing you can’t stop. Or you’re married with kids, but fantasizing about a coworker. Or hiding candy to eat alone when you’re already concerned about your weight. All the while, the secret gets bigger and darker and more deadly because we’re slowly dying from it.

We’re in this together … it’s called being human. Find an emotionally safe person and say your secret out loud in front of him/her, just like alcoholics at 12-step meetings say, “I’m an alcoholic.” Though we can’t fix each other, having a loving witness to our pain Helps. Heals. Frees.

When I finally told, most friends said it couldn’t be so. I was the happiest person they knew. I’m grateful they didn’t see me as Eeyore, but also grateful to no longer be hiding out with my secret. I want to actually feel happy, not just fake it.

To get better, are you willing to share your secret?

WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – The more I admit my depression, the less I feel depressed. I think it works that way with whatever secret we disclose.

On the side: If you think you don’t have anyone to tell, feel free to send me a message @ skimhenson@earthlink.net. You might be surprised how good it feels to write it down and share it with someone who cares. Promise it’s just between you, me and the delete key.

Related posts:

Stopping For Help (depression, part 2)

Depression: A Waste of Time? Or Worth the Time? (depression, part 3)

The Cure (depression, part 4)

We Need To Talk (depression, part 5)

Check out more of Jeff’s photography @ http://jeffwatkinsphotography.wordpress.com/.

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23 responses »

  1. Depression. We all have the capacity for feeling which also means we have the capacity for depression. I find the biggest hurdle in depression is that it is considered a sickness, not a condition. It is something anyone of us can experience, and for many reasons.

    Personally acknowledging the you are human and that you have the right to fell depressed is, for me, the first step in managing depression itself. For me, it is not something you are cured of. You accept your feelings and manage them. Do not try to stuff them away. Do not try to ignore them. The effort will exhaust and consume you. You have feelings and that is truly something wonderful.

    Thanks for the Acknowledgement Kim. Powerful post.

    • And your response is equally powerful, Jeff. And a healthy perspective that I often ignore. A friend once told me that sadness, anger and other such emotions get a bad reputation, and they shouldn’t. They’re necessary.

      Your comment reminds me so much of her telling me that, still I want to run from them and think I can find 100 percent happiness. Not possible and not balanced and I’m sure I’d get bored. I do that easily. Thanks for sharing. Your wisdom is a good reminder to us all.

      I also appreciate the photo. Great talent.

      • Happiness and feeling are not quite the same thing. You said anger, sadness, etc are necessary and they are, just in the right intensity. Too much and you lose control. Not enough and the stress isn’t managed. Happiness is that happy medium. It is a measure. Too much anger can cloud your mind just as too my love. The middle is balance, harmony, tolerance and happiness. This I have learnt from 40 years of “avoiding stress” by avoiding anger, aggression, anxiety by retreating in to submissiveness. Either extreme is just as unhealthy and depressing. When we are not being true to ourselves, when are not finding a happy balance… we are out of sync and depression can develope. That is the lesson I have learnt and what keeps me sane.

  2. Kim, this is such powerful truth. Freeing. Empowering. Camaraderie is powerful and your honesty helps the rest of us know we are not alone in this battle. I have a sneaking suspicion that more of us battle depression at some level than not. The strongest lie of the enemy is that we are the only one. Love you girl!

    • Andy, you’re so right. We feel the worst when we think we’re alone. Depression is so much a part of who many of us are. I wish sharing was equally a part of us. 🙂 I love the word camaraderie. Love you bunches!

  3. I’ve heard it said that depression is anger turned inward. And being forced to keep a secret can cause a lot of pent up anger.

    You, my friend, are a wise, wise woman.

    • I had forgotten, but I’ve heard that also, Beth. You’re right, a lot of anger comes from what we do to ourselves when we feel alone, and from feeling like we should keep quiet about our emotions. You’re the wise one. I love your comments and posts.

  4. wow! i’m in tears! touches me more than you can imagine! thanks for opening your heart and sharing your secret to help others!

  5. The minute we share our secrets we start to heal. Congratulations on taking the first step and for having the courage to say it out loud. Your words will encourage others to accept their hidden secrets so they too can heal. God bless you!

    • Thanks so much, Agnes. It felt good to finally blog about it. I’m headed over to comment on your post. It was so good to see you back blogging! I’ve missed your updates, just sorry they’ve been painful ones of late. But, as always, you handle each one with grace and a positive attitude.

  6. From Facebook –

    Diane Klebanow, Donna Horton, Elizabeth Haas Taylor and 2 others like this.

    Kathleen O’Mara posted Oh the old saying is true: you’re as sick as your secrets
    October 26 at 11:19am · Unlike · 1

    Kim Henson posted So true, Kathleen O’Mara. Thanks to blogging, I don’t have many left. : )
    October 26 at 11:24am · Like · 1

    Diane Wilson Dale posted Oh Kim, I love that….you’re an amazing writer!
    October 26 at 12:55pm · Unlike · 1

    Kim Henson posted Thank you, Diane. You’re so encouraging.
    October 26 at 2:20pm · Like

    Diane Wilson Dale posted Well I’m serious, that’s a very powerful article…and very helpful!!!
    October 26 at 2:30pm · Unlike · 1

    Peggy New posted Oh Kim … what a long journey we have been on and our paths have come together and then veered off — am glad they are crossing now ….
    October 26 at 10:56pm · Unlike · 1

    Mary Sue Smith posted Kim, I liked your story. As you know, I like stories that come from the heart. I, too, get depressed and the guilt of knowing I have so much to be thankful for eats at my soul. Thanks for sharing. You are a great writer and friend!
    October 27 at 2:21pm · Like

    Kim Henson posted Thank you, Diane. I know you’re off having a special time with your daughter. Let me know when you’re back.
    2 minutes ago · Like

    Kim Henson posted Me too, Peggy New. More than you know. ❤
    2 minutes ago · Like

    Kim Henson posted Mary Sue, I still smile when I think how we met. You're a special friend. Thank you for sharing your story. We help each other when we're vulnerable and open up about what's really going on. Thanks for being you.
    a few seconds ago · Like

    • Oops, Kim. I commented on this thinking it was for the election post. If you received that comment and are totally confused, so was I. Lol. Now I got it … you’re commenting on the one about secrets and depression.

      I love having you as a new reader. I’m working on part 2 of this post now. So sorry you suffer also, but I’m thankful we can share and be there for each other. Take good care. (Hugs)

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