I’m a writer without words. How do you start a post about the impact of depression on your life when it’s so ingrained in your existence you didn’t recognize it for years? It just was. Like eye color or a brain tumor. Nowhere and everywhere, it was the invisible cloud in the mirror, reflecting back a distorted image that often had more power than the truth. It told lies I believed. Even cheated by saving its worst assaults for when I was already down. I keep saying “was” but that’s not right. Is. Depression is. A constant battle that thrives in the darkness and fuels its endless appetite with hopelessness and self-fulfilling spirals.
But depression is a liar. That also means the distorted mirror can’t stand against the real truth: that incredible beauty can come out of the darkness when we expose it to the light.
Several years ago depression stole a foothold in my life. This wasn’t a drive-by blow with a few nasty glances in the lying mirror like in the past. It dug in, built its fortress, and claimed every aspect of my life until I was a shell of what I should have been. Physically, mentally, and spiritually I was a walking, talking, performing puppet of myself.
And almost no one knew.
That’s the mirror, right? We have one too. We wield it with precision, desperate in our attempt to hide the truth with more lies. For what? To protect ourselves, we think, but really, we’re protecting the lies because what happens when we all wear them? What happens when we give depression the darkness it craves?
The better question is, what would happen if we collectively chose to stop wearing the lies and shoved depression into the light?
The more open I’ve been about my story, the more connections I’ve made with people who struggle like I do. The more open I am about my pain, the more it’s become normal for me to say “I’m having a dark day” and have those who love me understand what that means for me and for them.
Transparency: that’s the weapon—with ourselves most of all.
We need to understand our depression, recognize it, and take back our true beauty by exposing it as a part of us, but not ALL of us.
It wants us alone, so we need to build connections.
It wants us ignorant, so we need to confront it.
It wants the dark, so we keep blasting it with light until it becomes the hollow shell it tries to make us.
Music and writing have always been part of my journey and played a huge role in my recovery from that particularly dark time in my life.
I shared my book NIGHT SHIFTS BLACK with the world in hope that maybe someone else would be touched by the words and find that spark of light in the darkness.
It's incredible to think that the small blossom of beauty that came out of my pain has had such a positive impact on others. You and I may never meet, never even have a conversation, but I hope my words (and the original song that inspired the book) can spark a connection between us anyway.
Each connection is another win for the light.
Each honest conversation, another blow to the dark.
I hope you’ll consider fighting with me to smash the vicious lying mirrors that trap us, and instead, let the light reflect back the beautiful, tragic works of art that we are.
For more on the bestselling book NIGHT SHIFTS BLACK
FREE on Kindle Unlimited
For the original song “Greetings from the Inside”:
YouTube ➤ http://bit.ly/2eLIltV
Amazon ➤ http://amzn.to/29zh892
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
This May, as in the past, I’m participating in the 7th Annual Mental Health Awareness Month Book Fundraiser benefiting the Keith Milano Memorial Fund at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
For the 7th year, an amazing group of authors have generously agreed to donate a portion of their May sales to the Keith Milano Memorial Fund.
Here is how you can help raise money and awareness for mental health:
➜You can purchase NIGHT SHIFTS BLACK or any of a host of amazing books (see full list here)! We hope you will #1click4charity a number of these amazing books! Please note that although many are Amazon Kindle links, the portion of sales is from any platform: digital, print and audio.
➜Share the images the participating authors share on social media to raise awareness and to show your support.
➜Make a tax-deductible donation directly to the Keith Milano Memorial Fund at AFSP ➜http://bit.ly/MilanoFund
Thank you in advance for your support as we work to bring mental illness out of the darkness.
Keith Milano Memorial Fund
140 Adams Ave Suite B-12
Hauppauge NY 11788
Direct Donation ➜http://bit.ly/MilanoFund