Monday, January 30, 2012

What if we all just came out of the closet?

I wrote my post on Saturday in so much pain I could hardly see straight (in case that wasn't clear.) It is really hard to write when you are in pain, especially–I find–head pain. So, I really wasn't sure, when I hit "publish", if what I had worked on was written in English or in Klingon, or whether it was a good idea to write it.

I just knew these three things:

  1. I needed to write about what I was experiencing or I was going to go insane.
  2. I am supposed to post every day for NaBloPoMo.
  3. I never promised anyone all my writing was going to be great.
Anyway, it was Saturday, and, on Saturday, I could publish nothing but pictures of LOL cats and links to mime porn, and it would be totally irrelevant because no one reads my blog on weekends.

However, it is Monday now and, in case you are  worried about me, I want to clarify a few things:
  1. I am not suicidal. This may not have been clear. In my blog post, I talk about "stopping" or "folding". What I mean is putting the brakes on some or all the activities that I am maintaining that have the trappings of a healthy life–work, church activities, running kids around. How much of this do I continue to do? When do I cut back? When do I just...stop? The thought of wishing the lights would go down on the whole scene of day-after-day pain? Yes, it has occurred to me, but–no, not seriously. Not any more seriously than my thoughts of throwing my children off of Omega bridge, anyway.

    Is it worth it to go to work in pain if it means helping twenty-five kids to read that day? Maybe some days the answer is yes and some days it is no. Is it worth it to read a whole chapter aloud of The Magician's Nephew to my six year-old while suffering from a migraine and throat pain? Again–yes some nights, no some nights. These are the kinds of questions I am really struggling with.

  2. I don't write a blog so that I can dump my pain into the public sphere for no reason. What I really hope is that honesty makes a difference. I want to be seen for who I am and for all that I am feeling–because that is what all people want, but that is a very small concern to me compared to this–I very badly want others to see themselves in my writing. I want to make an actual difference to someone who feels like I do, or loves someone who feels like I do. That, my friends, is something worth getting up off my pain-ridden ass every morning for.
Bloggers, especially bloggers much bigger and better than I, really make a difference. Reading Glennon Melton's heart-wrenchingly honest description of getting sober opens the doors for other women to try recovery. Jenny Lawson's frank and unflinching description of suffering from anxiety and depression allows anxiety to depression to be talked about, for people hiding in the dark to come out and lay claim to the miracle of their survival–publicly.
Pain is something that we hide. Hell, I hide my pain every day.  I do this naturally and without even thinking. How much more pain do I have because I am clenching, stuffing, composing myself so that I am presentable? I do not want to be the object of sympathy or pity. I want to be seen for who I am, for all I am–which is a survivor. 

Every day I am at war with the depression, indignity, discomfort and disquiet that pain brings to my life. And every day I put my head to the pillow after having mothered my children, imperfectly but with all my heart, done my job to the fullest of my capacity and lived to fight another day. I–and every one else fighting an invisible battle with their body or their mind every day–deserve a medal. We do not deserve to feel embarrassed.

I want to be a part of that. So, come out, come out, wherever you are, and join me!

"Recession" by my friend Patrick Kelly (ice receding on concrete)


  1. Right on! That's what really matters--making a difference

  2. If it makes you feel better, I understood that was the purpose of your post. I find it laudable that you are choosing to take something that is a challenge for you and use it to help others.
    I would do that, too, but I'm shallow.
    Hope you are feeling better now.

    1. One thing you are NOT is "shallow". You are probably just not as mental as I am. It does make me feel better. I couldn't tell afterward if it seemed like a weird Tweeted suicide note or not. Oh well. Live and learn. :) Luckily, I am sufficiently unimportant that my reputation matters only to me.

    2. It's really not a laughing matter, but "a weird Tweeted suicide note" is really giving me just a fit of giggles. I think I'm going to have to do something with that. Is that bad?

    3. That's OK. Do with it whatever you want. In fact, you could really do something fun! I like the idea of a social network for people with mood issues. Status updates would be so much fun and instead of relationship statuses, people could post updates on their mental outlook. Examples: Betty Ann feeling hopeful today. Betty Ann experiencing suicidal ideation. Betty Ann Jones...has a gun. I'm sorry. I guess that shouldn't be funny.

  3. Articulate. Honest. Open. Everything a post should be. Well done. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Embrace embarrassment. If we laugh at ourselves, we expose our humanity to others and they can laugh or cry along us. Great post Tara.

  5. One of my sisters has lupus and the other has adhesive arachnoiditis. Both suffer with chronic physial pain and all the mental and emotional issues that come with it. Watching them, I think one of the toughest things for people dealing with it is exactly what you're talking about--the feeling that you have to be "strong" and keep the true level of your pain a secret. I think you do a tremendous thing by being honest about how you feel--not just for yourself but for others as well.

  6. Thank you for all the beautiful comments on this post. It has allowed me to feel that I was both heard and made some kind of difference. My pain level has gone down again to a manageable level now, and, better yet, I have really done some soul-searching about my relationship to illness and what I want from life, what this illness all means for me and what I want. I am in a much better place. Blog piece coming on that soon, when I can give it the attention it deserves.

  7. This is encouraging. Heart wrenching, brutally honest, and encouraging. I've blogged only a little about my depression, but am about to unload a whole lotta posts shortly, because I'm in "that place" where I can't do much else. Or, at least it feels like I can't do much else. Thank you for helping to pave the way.


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