Sunday, June 21, 2015

NAMI AIR anonymous support app

Through their magazine, i learned about NAMI's app, NAMI AIR. It lets you post anonymously, more anonymously than a blog. Much more anonymously than Facebook. But similar to Facebook, you can read posts from other people, only without a name or profile picture. Like Facebook, you can "like" something. But what about the sad posts? NAMI AIR is a step ahead of Facebook because it has a button like the "like" button that is the "hug" button. And because you don't know them and they don't know you and they can't even trace your hugs to your posts, it isn't awkward to hug a stranger.

There are two more options for responses. One is to leave a hashtag comment. There is a list of phrases or words for you to choose from.

The other option is the "me too" button, which in turn allows you to write a post "inspired" by the one you just said "me too" about. You can trace backwards or forwards through inspired posts.

This creates something like a perpetually available support group, and comes with a similar cost/benefit gamble; will the things people say encourage me or bring me down? Will some well-meaning person accidentally say something offensive? Will I get some much needed encouragement or ideas for managing my illness better?

They do have it divided into two groups, one for people who have mental illness and one for family members. Although you can switch between groups (they specifically recognize that you can qualify for both groups) you cannot post in more than one group at a time. I like this, because, while I'm sure family members sometimes need to discuss how hard it is to live with someone with a mental illness, this is not something i need to dwell on right now.

In conclusion, i really like this app. It has room for improvement, and i expect they will improve it. But for now it is one more resource to help get me through a rough time, and for that i am grateful.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Dear Louisa

Dear Louisa, i know your name isn't Louisa, but it seems a little insensitive to use your real name on a blog post. But i really am writing to you, or to the idea of you, or the memory of you, seeing as i don't know if you get to read blogs in heaven at this point.

Firstly, i love you. I believe you knew that. But I'd like to tell you again, even though i understand it wouldn't change things.

And Louisa, i know i haven't called for a while. We were both going through a really tough time and i wasn't sure i was up to sharing burdens with you while both of ours were so heavy. I want you to know i wasn't upset with you. It's just i needed to focus a bit more positively. But I'm not blaming you for your struggle or for saying what you did. It's just that sometimes we have to take care of our selves, first. I hope you understand. I think you would understand.

But i love you so much. And you have helped me so much. And i wish I'd called you in April when i was doing better. Two(?) days after you died, i was thinking about asking you to go to the movies with me again. Then i got the call that you had carried through on your desire for death.

Louisa, lots of people don't get it. Of course, you already knew some people don't get it. People judge all sorts of ways. Not even maliciously; they're just trying to process, i suppose.

But even my dad, when i brought up your passing via suicide, he said something about how hard it is to make a connection with people. And i told him, no, that's not it. You had lots of friends. Well, enough friends. It was because your depression and anxiety hurt too much.

That is why, isn't it? That coupled with the depressed thinking, the distorted thinking that you would be better off dead. Are you? Is it true? I believe you were a Christian and are now with God. Sounds pretty good to me.

Don't worry; i know i can't go like you did. I'll stay here and keep fighting the stupid depression monster.

Louisa, it's so tiring fighting the depression and anxiety monsters. You understood that. I understand it. Louisa, i know you fought so long and so hard. I wish more people understood, if they could just understand without having to go through this dark journey themselves.

People are funny, you know. They basically tell me to grieve. Like it is a faucet you can turn on but shouldn't turn off.

My counselor keeps asking if I'm angry with you, and i start wondering if i have to be angry with you in order to grieve properly and move on. I'm angry with the lack of understanding in the general public on the matter of mental health related suicides. I'm angry about death. Death is an enemy. Pretty sure that is biblical. But you are such a kind, caring person who has suffered so much, how can i be angry with you? I'm angry about the act, i suppose. Angrier at the depression that preceded it. I wish you had held on a little longer. I miss you.

But i have to end forgiving, if it is even my right to feel offended. Louisa, i love you, i hope God is giving you lots of love and drying your tears.

I wonder if, seeing you that day, he had pitty on you and said something like, i know the depth of your struggle, Louisa. Evil led you to attempt suicide, but I'm going to take you home this time, because you have suffered long enough.

Louisa, I'm going to keep struggling. I can't join you yet, much as i sometimes want to. Hey, maybe they'll even find a cure for depression in my life time, like you hoped for me. Or maybe this current medication will make things easier for at least a while. I sure hope so.

And one day, not by suicide because i just can't do that, much as i might sometimes like to, I'll join you in heaven.

Louisa, I'm a little scared. How much choice did you have at the end, or was it like falling down a hill? What if my world turns black, again and again and again? I'm not perfect; i make mistakes, too. Will the depression monster finally get me for keeps on this earth? How thoroughly can the depression monster screw with my thinking? Am i safe, or do i need to put into place more safeguards? Because if this could happen to you, could it also happen to me? I think I should get my counselor's input. Only i think there must still be a choice. But maybe it wouldn't hurt to add a few more safeguards.

I love you, and i know you are in good hands, God's hands. Although i must say I'm feeling a bit confused about how God works right now. But i know you're safe.

Love, Abigail