Why I’m Writing about My Depression

Several people have asked me why I am writing about my own depression. It has been suggested to me that, as a teacher and a minister, I ought to have some professional boundaries in place about this type of thing. Some well-meaning person told me that I complain a lot about being sad. Apparently sadness is equated with depression for this particular friend.

Truthfully, I don’t like talking about having depression. I don’t like talking about how the winter is the worst because of the lasting darkness, when I have a nostalgic love for the piles of snow, snowmobiles, and even the occasional downhill ski.*

But I need to talk about depression. Not for my own sanity necessarily, although there is a certain AA sense to naming your problem in order to work through it. No, for me, I tell my own story for those other stories that are buried in shame and fear of the disease.

I tell my own story to encourage the friend suffering with depression, the friend who wrote me that they “purposely don’t ever mention it to those who are so critical of it not being a “‘real disease’,” including family and friends

I tell my own story to shine some hope for the dear one who called me this fall, needing support for a recent suicide of someone close to them.

I tell my own story to encourage others to get help for a real disease, a brick wall that makes living day to day sometimes seem impossible. I tell it so that people remember that they Cannot Be Replaced and that others are counting on them, hoping for them, willing to love them and support them.

Most days for me are pretty damned good days. I have incredible people and places in my life that I am eternally thankful for, and it’s my hope that by talking about depression I can encourage those who also suffer with it to hold on through the rough days and look forward with hope to the sunny days.

*sometimes I enjoyed skiing. Except for the time I got a concussion, then I hated it.

  • JW

    Thank you Fr. Dean.

    Thank you for speaking out for those of us who are afraid to say we are struggling with depression, especially if we work in ministry. It seems to be a common theme that we should not talk about our struggles for that makes us weak, but I still believe in naming our pain, we are able to pursue healing.

    • http://dsimmer.com/ Dean P. Simmer | dsimmer.com

      Thanks JW.

      It’s definitely been a road for me and I totally agree with you, naming the pain helps us get the right healing for it. Happy (early) Thanksgiving!

  • thedandylife

    This is great and insightful. Thank you for sharing this. It’s important to speak openly about it so that people aren’t ashamed.

    • http://dsimmer.com/ Dean P. Simmer | dsimmer.com

      Thanks! I’m trying.