August 12, 2015 – We have to talk about it

we have to talk about it

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou

I don’t write a lot of posts on Motivating Giraffe so I hope you’ll forgive me for this one. I know that it is so hard to talk about mental illness and depression without coming across as preachy or naive or just mind-blowingly ignorant. I hope I don’t do that.

Depression is a shape-shifter, a disease, an invisible weight (at least…mine is). Somehow in the blink of an eye, life can flutter from the beauty of a bird in the sky to the excruciating numbness of television static. I don’t draw these pictures because I think I have the answer, or because I believe positive sayings and love can cure some of the most unfair things that life can deal out. I don’t have an answer. I wish I did.

I’m not even sure what I’m trying to say. I guess just whoever you are, reading this, suffering out loud or in silence, or you love somebody who is. Whether no one knows or everybody knows. Please just know that it is okay to be struggling. There is nothing wrong with you. There is nothing wrong with any of us. I wish I knew why it feels so much like we have to stay quiet.

Just try your best. What else can we do, but that.

Sincerely, and with everything in me, take care of yourself and be kind to yourself. I really love you guys.


37 thoughts on “August 12, 2015 – We have to talk about it

  1. You’re right… it’s tough too to feel like you’re alone, and sometimes some of us actually really are alone… more people are struggling than anyone ever knows, especially if you’re good at muddling through the day and hiding it. It really is important, to try and find an outlet or a way to sort through things sometimes. That, too, can be a struggle… but I have to think it’s worth it, eventually. Thank you for sharing something poignant today.

  2. “I know that it is so hard to talk about mental illness and depression without coming across as preachy or naive or just mind-blowingly ignorant. I hope I don’t do that.”

    Not at all. Whatever it is to you is what it is to you. Like anything else, depression is something that we experience in our own ways. This is because we are, each of us, unique. No two people experience love the same way or anger the same way or depression the same way. It just doesn’t happen. This is why there’s no one-size-fits-all cure for depression or anger or love. It is what it is to each of us. So how you describe your experience with your depression is completely valid.

    You did beautifully. :)

    And really, it would only have been preachy if the pig was saying to the giraffe, “Put enough money into the offering plate and I can heal you.”

  3. Well said, Penny. Your wonderful motivating giraffe has undoubtedly lifted someone’s spirits. I know it has been a blessing to me. We all want the world to see our best side and to admit to depression or mental illness still carries a huge stigma. We haven’t made much progress in that area. We’ve gone from institutionalizing to shock therapy to psychotherapy and now drug therapy. The mind still holds a ton of mystery, but we do need to talk about it simply to realize it is a common problem. Knowing we’re not alone in the battle is the first step towards healing.

  4. Such a touching post. A year ago last year one of the world’s favorites celebrity committed suicide because of depression. Robin Williams brought such joy and happiness to the world. It’s sad that he never realized this. Whether it’s a celebrity or just you and me, we all need to know how much we are loved and appreciated.
    Shine On

  5. You can be in a room full of people and still feel alone.

    I am often alone, but rarely lonely these days (in retirement), but I do remember the dark pit of Depression when I was working (with chronic ill health and constant severe physical pain). No one understood my own struggle and there seemed to be no end or solution in sight.

    So what did I do. I quit the office job I hated (and couldn’t cope with with deteriorating eye sight, cognitive dysfunction and severe spine and soft tissue pain).

    The pain is still there. I’ve had more lower spine surgery. But at least I can now deal with it in my own time and my own way. I can rest when the struggle gets too much. I can walk outdoors when the walls close in. And more importantly, I have a kind, sensitive, supportive Doctor who helps me and listens (when the going gets tough).

  6. you sweet, honest, gentle soul. you and your giraffe can even crack the door so long closed on mental struggles and disease.

    may we keep talking about the hard stuff. it will save lives.

  7. I have battled depression for as long as I can remember. I have been off and on different medications over the years, never able to stay on any of them for too long due to annoying side affects, thus I don’t take anything now. Yes, I have my ups and downs, but I feel like me. Too often on the medications, I felt as though I lacked emotions, either good or bad. It is an everyday battle.

  8. So true. The worst thing is that you feel like you have to keep a secret. No one should have to feel this way. We´re all Gods creatures and beautiful! ❤️ Thanks for your wonderful post and your always encouraging illustrations!!!

  9. Hi Penny. Thank you so much for these beautiful words. It’s so nice to read a thoughtful post alongside your always thoughtful images. I agree with everything you said and admire the honest and heartfelt way you said it. Take care, Daniel

  10. Depession is very hard.I have watched my mother all of my life. The one thing I have learn from her …which she does not do… is to let go of the things in the past that have hurt you. If you do not conciencsously say “I need to let it go or it will affect the rest of my life.”……. You have to make a consciouLiving with deprs ecision to let it go and say Sh*# happens time to move in out of my life..

  11. Sorry about all the typos above was trying to edit and accedently hit the send. The last line is you have to make a consious decision to let go …and let it go…time to move on…it’s about letting go..I hope this might help some one with depression…I can only say from my own experieces in life…so I hope I do not offend anyone.

  12. Penny very hard subject…you always have a positive and warmth in your sayings . Keep your inspirations going…There are many out there that need them…you have awarm caring soul.

  13. Thank you Penny.
    I wish more people in the world saw depression this way. It took a long time for me to find the support I needed, but I’m now blessed with incredible mental health services.
    Unfortunately, whether because of culture, gender biases, class – I could continue this list for days – many people feel silenced or the need to shun because of depression. If there was more openness and acceptance about depression more people could get access to supportive resources and not feel the need to hide their illness from family and friends while suffering in silence.
    I hope you continue to be held with love and gentle care by your family and friends

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