Yesterday, I posted the following comment on my Facebook page and Twitter account:
“Continue to pray for those who are feeling sad and depressed. The holidays are not always a festive occasion for some individuals who are afraid to ask for help. Let’s keep them in our thoughts and prayers. Take care and be blessed.”
I don’t know if it’s due to the change in season or something in the air, but I’m struggling to get into the Christmas spirit this year. I’m not feeling motivated to mail out Christmas cards, which is not a good sign for those who personally know me. I love mailing Christmas, birthday, and Mother’s/Father’s Day cards to my loved ones. When I worked in downtown Center City Philly, the employees at the Hallmark store in the Gallery Mall knew my name and treated me like Norm for Cheers every time I shopped there. Where and how did this depression creep up on me? That is so unlike me. I do have my depressed moments and it is okay to acknowledge them. I think it’s foolish to not do so and keep everything inside. No, because I learned the hard way to not keep things to myself and I am grateful for the support, encouragement, and concern from my loved ones through my depression.
Speaking of depression, I completely forgot that five years ago this week I wrote a blog entry commenting on my thoughts about Shane Joseph Halligan, a 16 year-old student who committed suicide at Springfield High School in Oreland, PA. I also revealed in that blog for the first time my suicidal ideation during my senior year in high school and my personal struggles with depression during my adolescence. At the time, I was compelled to write something about the incident but very uncertain about revealing that aspect of my life. I was afraid of my loved ones’ reactions and perception about me. I don’t know why I felt this way but I did write a poem called “The Sun Will Always Shine” about my adolescent suicidal ideation but not going into specific details. Well, I managed to find the strength to write and publish the blog. It was so therapeutic and I appreciated some of the positive comments I received about discussing this sensitive and important topic.
Two years later, I felt inspired to write another poem called “In the End.” This new piece dug deeper into the root of the matter behind my depression and suicidal ideation. I didn’t think “The Sun Will Always Shine” touched upon my internal feelings and there was something lacking. I added some details into the verses to add emotional connections to my feelings and to create a more visual description, including references to slashing my wrists with razor blades and shooting myself. It took a deep minute for me to recite that poem once again due to my fears about perception, but I didn’t look back after the first time. Although a handful of people have approached me out of concern for my well-being after they heard or read the poem, the majority of the individuals have responded positively through their kindness, empathy, and love by thanking me for having the strength to say what they couldn’t express themselves.
Fast forward two years later (it seems like everything is moving in two-year intervals), I completed the first draft of my memoir In the End. The memoir delves further into this subject matter, expanding upon my personal thoughts and feelings that only a handful of my loved ones were aware. I was inspired to write this non-fiction work after having a conversation with author Tananarive Due during the summer of 2010. I have to say that I am extremely happy and excited about this new creative endeavor, which will be published in 2012 by Xpress Yourself Publishing. It has taken me a long time to have it published from editing, revising, deleting, updating, and legal vetting. In the End has had its share of controversy and discussion among some of my relatives who have taken exception to the things I discussed in earlier versions of the manuscript. Some of it was warranted while others were unwarranted. Some chapters were revised, some chapters were deleted. I’m grateful for the changes that were made to make In the End more positive and inspirational. I am also looking forward to using this literary project to raise awareness about depression and suicidal ideation. The time for holding our tongues and keeping silent about our struggles rather than seeking help is over. If there is someone you know or suspect that is going through the motions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to him or her. One phone call, text message, or email makes a tremendous difference.
Take care and be blessed.