Kat Kinsman is the managing Editor of CNN’s Eatocracy. She has been open about suffering from depression and anxiety.  In January I read a piece by Kat that delivered readers straight into the hell that anxiety is.  She did such an outstanding job of allowing others the experience of walking in her shoes I shared it in the  blog Anxiety – Joy – A Journey.

Obviously Kat struck a chord with many people and has continued the work of de-stygmatizing mental illness.  After the tragic suicide of Robin Williams in August, Kat wrote an op-ed piece called Going Public With Depression for CNNLiving.  Her descriptive style enables the reader to understand the insidiousness of depression.  This is crucial because it is something that is very difficult for sufferers to articulate, especially when they are thrown into the depths of of depression.

“I am 14 years old, it’s the middle of the afternoon, and I’m curled into a ball at the bottom of the stairs. I’ve intended to drag my uncooperative limbs upstairs to my dark disaster of a bedroom and sleep until everything hurts a little less, but my body and brain have simply drained down.” Kat Kinsman

She describes the physical pain, the utter exhaustion, the feeling of being in a well.  Along with the desperation and hopelessness that descend upon a depressed person, Kat still gives hope.

The pain and ferocity of the bouts have never eased, but I’ve lived in my body long enough to know that while I’ll never “snap out of it,” at some point the glass will crack and I’ll be free to walk about in the world again. It happens every time, and I have developed a few tricks to remind myself of that as best I can when I’m buried deepest.”  Kat Kinsman

The truth is, most people don’t recognize when someone is depressed.  Often the first words someone offers when depression ends in tragedy is “I never would have guessed.”  As Kat says,

Most people don’t see depression in others, and that’s by design. We depressives simply spirit ourselves away when we’ve dimmed so as not to stain those who live in the sun.” Kat Kinsman

Kat emphasizes the importance of sharing, of asking for help.  While some of us might be concerned that the internet, with online bullying and all the other potentially negative influences may contribute to more depression, Kat points to the benefit that depression sufferers experience from sharing and being with people who have similar stories, who share the same pain. She offers some of her favourite ways to make it to the other side of depression.

Her advice to others who know sufferers.

  • take care of yourself,
  • allow them to go through what they need to go through – you can’t fix them,
  • let them know you are there for them no matter what, you aren’t going anywhere

She doesn’t pull any punches.  Those of us who have experienced one bout of depression are likely to experience another.  There is no magic pill.  What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another and it takes time.  And it’s painful.

In her open and honest way Kat also shares some methods to remind herself that there will be an end to the hopeless feelings, the long range forecast really is for brilliant sunshine.    Author Stephen Fry’s much shared letter of advice is one of them.

“Here are some obvious things about the weather:
It’s real.
You can’t change it by wishing it away.
If it’s dark and rainy it really is dark and rainy and you can’t alter it.
It might be dark and rainy for two weeks in a row.
It will be sunny one day.
It isn’t under one’s control as to when the sun comes out, but come out it will.
One day.”

In the video also included in the article she is asked what one piece of advice, if she could choose one, would she give to someone suffering from depression.

“You’re not alone. Tell somebody.  Chances are they or someone they know are going through it too.”

And if they don’t listen tell someone else. Remember, the long range forecast is sunny, brilliantly sunny.

©2014 Rise Like Air  J. Fries

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