I heard these words from the stage at the Out of the Darkness Walk Boston, held on Saturday by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. More than anything else that day, this phrase made my heart jump to my throat.
"Thanks for Showing Up."
Showing up is a big part of life. Showing up means you’re trying – you’re taking action, making an attempt, giving something a go.
Showing up isn’t the only thing. But if you don’t show up in the first place, nothing else can happen.
One of the constant themes of my Depression is that when I’m in the throes, it takes a will of steel to show up. In my Depression I am constantly cancelling things – can’t make it. I’m feeling really sick all of a sudden. I have trouble getting out of bed, getting out of the house.
I’m a master at the excuses, and I’m a master of ghosting. The excuse is easier than showing up.
Showing up is participating in the human experience, with other actual humans. And for someone with depression, that can be one of the hardest things to do.
Step back from it and, to me the thing that’s strange is that I never give my Depression as an excuse. I have never once said “I’m sorry, but I’m really struggling with Depression at the moment, and that is making this day horrible to bear, and I’d just rather not be around people.”
Maybe there’s a better way to say that. Maybe there’s a better way that isn’t a lie but isn’t the full cruel truth.
When I’m feeling my Depression, showing up is the 2nd last thing I want to do. The very last thing I want to do is talk about Depression.
For a person with Depression, showing up is a victory. Getting out of the house, the decision and action to leave a safe solitary place, and enter into a world full of potential for anything, is a huge, impossible action.
To the extent that for far too many people, taking their own life is easier and more attractive than showing up, day after day.
“Thanks for Showing Up.”
If you know someone who’s struggling, just keep in mind that for them, being out in the world is a huge victory.
Showing up is a commitment to stay in the world. Be generous, and help them build on that.
On that note I want to thank some really special people for Showing Up. I had the wonderful privilege of walking with five friends of mine: Melissa Barker, Angie Jepson, Ramona Ostrowski, Dawn Simmons, and Ciera-Sade Wade. They showed up and walked the walk. All of them have had lives touched in some way by suicide or depression, and all of them chose to show up, raise a little money, and walk.
It meant an awful lot to me to walk with people I love so much. All told, our team raised over $3000.
The walk is over, but you can still Show Up. Donations are accepted thru 12/31/2014. Just visit the Boston chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, or click on any of the names above to make a pledge to one of the fabulous ladies in my life who Showed Up and walked with me, Out of the Darkness.