Welcome to #ShatteringStigmas!

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Welcome, my lovelies, to a post that is many, many months in the making but I am most obviously typing right before it needs to be posted. You all know how things work around here by now, no?

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That pretty much sums it up.

A lot of you already know what this is about, but if you don’t (or even if you do, because it’s nice to get reminders from time to time) this event is all about mental health. It’s about, quite literally and titularly, shattering stigmas. For those of you who are struggling with mental health, you know how isolating and scary it can feel. For those of you who don’t, you are still likely quite aware of the problems and stigmas associated with mental health.

What I came to realize though is that I am far from alone. And while I wish with all my might that no one else would have to deal with mental health related issues, it is good to know that if we do have to go through it, we aren’t the only ones. And now, through the beauty of literature, we’re finally seeing fictional characters enduring these struggles too. Authors are putting themselves out there, heart soul and fears on display, to show us all that we are not alone.tumblr_lkkd7vxWTM1qev8ddo1_500

This is a celebration of that. Of those wonderful writers, of our fellow bloggers, of readers everywhere, and of you. If you are reading this, this event is for you. It’s for everyone who has a story to tell, or would love to listen to a story. It’s for someone who’s suffered through a debilitating condition, and for someone who’d just like to know a bit more about mental health. It’s for all of us, because I guarantee that there is no one out there who doesn’t know someone in their lives who has been affected. And if by chance you don’t, it’s a great way to read about some really brave women who have been so gracious to share their stories with us.

So what do we have in store? Guest posts, interviews, reviews, some lovely information from our survey, and yes, a giveaway! And we want to thank each of you from the bottom of our hearts for helping make this a reality. I am scared to death, but if even one person is touched by it, I’ll consider it a huge success!

Make sure to check out my co-hosts’ posts as well, because we’ll all have different content, guests, and stories!

You can find Kayla’s posts for the event here: CLICK ME FOR KAYLA!

And Inge’s posts here: CLICK ME FOR INGE!

And a quick note that this event would never, ever have happened without these two amazing ladies. They have given me the courage to go through with this, the support when I was too scared to reach out, and have been just amazing co-hosts. I thank you both, from the bottom of my heart. I am lucky to have found you both <3 


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**Just a quick note: Yes, I used some gifs to kind of “lighten the mood”- for myself as much as you! And to break up the very, very large walls of text.**

I also want to note here that I don’t have a section on coping mechanisms, or things I do to help myself feel better like my co-hosts, because to be quite frank, I don’t have any. But we’re sharing honestly here, so that’s where I happen to be at.

So, where do we start? With me, I suppose! Because I’d be a sorry excuse for a host if I wasn’t willing to share, no? To be honest, I quite like to share things. It feels cathartic, and in a sense, freeing. It’s also why I sometimes like to read books that will shatter me into a million pieces, because sometimes you need a good cry.

I’ve long been curious about the “nature versus nurture” debate. As a fairly strong willed person, I have wanted to believe that the way you lived your life dictated how you’d be as a person, and in some ways, that has value. But as I have gotten older and realized how really fucked up brain chemistry can be, I know it isn’t all my doing. It isn’t a weakness in me that is wholly responsible for my way of seeing the world. But I’ll get back to that.

For a very, very long time, I didn’t know that I had an issue. My parents just said I was “too emotional”, “scared of everything”, and basically just your general, run of the mill mess. (Fine, that last one was mine.) But I was overly emotional and scared of everything, so they weren’t wrong either. I thought about things that other kids most certainly did not. Kids worry about silly stuff, like monsters under the bed, but when I was six and moved into a different bedroom, I have a very clear recollection of a particularly well thought out fear of a robber-turned-murderer attacking me in the night. I was afraid of my night light catching on fire (which incidentally, it DID one night- good thing I checked it every single day). I cried a lot over death. Not just mine, but of everyone I knew. When I was seven, my great-grandma was in the hospital and they weren’t sure she’d make it (I mean, she was old of course) and I still remember the panic and terror that literally never went away. To this day, it’s my biggest source of panic, and can strike at any time- even if everyone is healthy and happy.ezgif-3599281971

So yeah, the anxiety has been around since the beginning of Shannon. I don’t think there was ever a time in my life that I wasn’t incredibly self-conscious, panicked, scared, overwhelmed, or paralyzed by indecision. The depression came later.

I was kind of weird, and loved high school a lot. The people were all nice, I did really well in school and with swimming, and my teammates/best friends and coaches were the best ever. I hit the lottery, basically. But as things do, it ended. And I sank really, really low. I knew it would be hard, but I never knew it would be that hard. My parents urged me (read: forced- not to be mean, they really thought it was the right thing to do, it just wasn’t) me to go away to college, and I really didn’t want to, so I picked a school two hours away where a few people I knew were going. It was one of the worst decisions I had ever made. I was unhappy, I missed my friends, I hated swimming at this college that wasn’t even as good as my high school team had been. I missed my parents, my grandparents, and the boy I spent hours pining over, unrequitedly as it was. I was seventeen, and I wasn’t ready for any of it. I cried endlessly. I tried to make myself sick- not to die, mind you- just to be able to go home. As a cry for help, for someone to please listen to me, to feel my desperation. I didn’t eat for weeks, in the hopes that I would pass out somewhere, that it would alert someone to the fact that something was wrong. Nothing worked, and thank goodness I wasn’t desperate enough to try anything more serious.

I finally saw my doctor when I’d just turned nineteen. He basically said “you sound depressed” and gave me a box of Prozac. I have never in my life felt as awful as I did after taking that medication. I felt like I had to crawl out of my skin- not wanted to, had to. I knew I wasn’t in my rational mind, I knew it was the pills, but these feelings kept coming and it was the scariest thing I’d been through- far worse than the depression, because it felt so unpredictable. I stopped taking the pills and went back to crying and panicking in solitude.tumblr_mcru469bW91r4vz2po1_400

This is the truest thing ever, pretty much. 

I finally saw a counselor at my college, at the almost insistence of my coach who was worried. I used to get out of the pool in the middle of practice, run into the locker room, turn on the shower and sit on the floor and cry until I was sick to my stomach. Our team manager found me there one day, and it was a godsend. As wonderful as she was (she’d end up sitting with me in there quite a few times over the next two years), the others weren’t. If teammates weren’t busy making fun of me for crying, they were busy bitching because I wasn’t in the pool. Finally, my parents agreed to me seeing a therapist at home, though they weren’t altogether comfortable with the idea.

I spent the final two years of college in a seemingly endless cycle of counselors, meds, and alternating periods of really good times and really bad times. A month before graduation, things went from bad to worse. I was moving home in a month to be unemployed and uninsured, and my mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer. And for some reason, I pulled it together- for awhile. I can do it, when I have to. For a finite period of time, I discovered. I ended up getting an assistant coaching job at a local college, and was finally making friends. My mom’s prognosis was good, we’d found a low-cost therapy provider, and I felt like maybe, just maybe I was living again. For about eight months, I felt like I finally got to be a normal 21 year old. Were my problems gone? Goodness, no! I had just managed to get them under control a bit, to find a way to live.

And then… the bottom dropped out. Have you ever looked back on your life and wondered if you could pinpoint the one moment that changed it all? That if you could go back and get a redo, everything would just be completely different? I know that moment. I know that I was given moments along the way as even more opportunities to not make some decisions I made. But I was scared, and as per usual, I was inept at making decisions for myself. I went along with what I thought everyone else wanted or needed me to do, just as I’d always done. Just as I did with college, and with every major decision that came after it. I’m here to tell you, folks: It isn’t a great idea.Aint-Nobody-Got-Time-for-That

I could take you bit by bit through the past ten years, but I could also just sum it all up much faster: the deepest depression, the most paralyzing anxiety, self-loathing, hopelessness, and feelings of general despair you can imagine, punctuated with small moments of happiness (which incidentally come from two very lovely small humans). I have seen a revolving door of therapists, been on every medication in the Physician’s Desk Reference, and still. And still.

There were extra lows while I was pregnant with my daughter: bouts of unparalleled rage, sobbing, and terror. I had gone off my medication while pregnant but… the need outweighed the risk, so back on I went. When I got pregnant with my son, I was told to stay on the medications. I wonder every day of my life if they were the cause of his genetic syndrome, if the dozens of surgeries he will face, if the near certainty that any child he has will also have this syndrome were all my fault. Do you know what seeing those commercials does to a mom? You know the ones: “Did an antidepressant cause your child to have a birth defect?”

Thanks, that's super helpful to depressed moms everywhere: "You weren't upset enough, so now, let's BLAME YOU!"
Thanks, that’s super helpful to depressed moms everywhere: “You weren’t upset enough, so now, let’s BLAME YOU!”

So where does that leave me? I think you’ll notice that my story has holes, and they’re there for a reason. Why? Well, sometimes when things are unresolved, how do you tell their story? I know there are things I can control that could put me on a better path, but I also know there are some things I cannot. I know there are things that I absolutely need in order to get better. Things like:

  • A Support System. This has to be more than just me calling my mom and then having her be upset that I am upset, which in turn makes me more upset and well, that cycle never ends. That’s the status of my support at the moment. If I didn’t have this lovely community to talk books (and everything else, too!) with, I think I’d be in a much worse place.
  • The ability to make decisions that could help me find what I need. I have always been bad with decisions, but right now I am so paralyzed with fear that I may never make a coherent decision to put myself on some kind of good path. I also don’t trust any decision I have ever made, they haven’t been the best so far. They also haven’t been motivated by what I want, either.
  • Self-confidence. This is lacking, clearly. When I missed Bookitcon today (which I am still so, so sad about) and looked at the pictures, I burst into tears for two reasons: One, I wasn’t there. Two, I seriously thought for a few minutes that it was better that I wasn’t there because no one had me uglying up their pretty photos. That isn’t healthy, and I know it needs to stop.
  • I want to figure out how to feel worthy of love. It’s all I have ever wanted, and the thing I feel least deserving of. It’s time to remedy that.

That’s where I am. I am searching, everyday, for something I can’t even pinpoint. I am on the hunt for a decent counselor, which isn’t an easy task around here. I have had some really bad experiences (and please understand, this is not the norm- there are undoubtedly amazing counselors out there, I just happen to live in an area that they’re hard to come by- and even harder to get an appointment with!) Basically this:

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I’m soul searching, trying to find me in this mess of brain chemicals gone awry and poor decision making. I want to be someone who can help my daughter, who at four, already panics about the same type of ridiculous things I’d panicked about (bringing the “nature versus nurture” debate full circle, as promised) navigate the world with an anxious mindset. I want a life filled with love and joy, and it’s something I am finally starting to think I deserve- or at the very least, feel like I should think I deserve.

And for this, I thank you, the book blogging community. Before I started doing this, I had no goals, no ambition, nothing to call my own. I was someone’s mom. Someone’s daughter. Someone’s caretaker, someone’s maid, not me. Never me. Now, I am. Blogging has given me goals, something to take pride in, something I do for me.  And books, these amazing books, have opened up my world to the possibilities of life, the notion that there is something better out there. Books have shown me determination and love and living. I haven’t lived in many, many years. I have existed. And damn it, all I really want to do is live.

It’s an endless journey, mental health. You don’t wake up one morning “all better” and go on like it never happened. I will absolutely be on medications for the rest of my life, I have come to accept that. I have made peace with this being a daily struggle that I will have to fight. But separating the illness and the essence of who you are? That is the essential step. And it is one I am vowing to take. This quote, which featured prominently in Jennifer Mathieu’s Devoted, inspired me both in words and context: sjm2

I want to start living mine, finally.

Are you guys ready for #ShatteringStigmas? What do you hope to take away from all this? I am so, so humbled and honored by your support.

Posted August 10, 2015 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in #ShatteringStigmas, Discussion, Discussion Challenge, Mental Health / 62 Comments


62 responses to “Welcome to #ShatteringStigmas!

  1. First, I took a NAMI Family-to-Family course last spring, and I have become something of a NAMI evangelical. Find them; if they are not present in your area, they are still present online. When you talk about the need for support, that is the first thing I think of. My husband of nearly fifteen years has been dealing with major depression for the last two years; things have been really hard and really scary. I’ve got a few of my own issues as well, and our kids have complex trauma after being adopted from an orphanage, so…three out of four of us rely on medication, is what I’m saying, and I keep an eagle eye on #4.

    I am also struck by the number of YA books I’ve come across lately that directly address mental illness. Is it because I’m more sensitive to the topic now? Or are writers looking to shatter those stigmas? All the Bright Places, Challenger Deep, Everyone Sees the Ants–some of the best writers around are sharing really genuine portrayals of characters who have mental illnesses.

    All of which is to say–thank you for starting this project; thank you for trusting us with your story.

    • Wow, that sounds like a FABULOUS resource! Thank you so, so much for sharing this! I am going to look them up now. My area is often lacking, but if it’s online too, I am in! I am sorry that your family is struggling with these issues as well. It is so hard, and with kids… it is a whole other beast. I am likely going to be taking my daughter to see someone soon, to try to get a start on things rather than pushing it away.

      I absolutely think it is new- it is authors not being afraid anymore to deal with these tough topics, which is so amazing. I agree- these authors have been doing an AMAZING job- way more good, accurate books than not!

      And thank you SO much- your support means the world, I really cannot even express how much I appreciate it <3

  2. Wow….gosh this is so incredibly powerful. Shannon, oh it sounds like your life has been a challenging journey when it comes to those moments, and it sounds like every day, every day you are getting better, figuring out when there’s an issue, knowing that you need to think positivity and just to make the decision and deal with the consequences later. Thank you for being brave and sharing your story with us, and we are with you. *big hugs*

  3. OMGGGG THIS POST. WOW. JUST WOW. You are so so brave and open and honest sharing all this Shannon. LET ME JUST HUG YOU NOW. YES. YES I WILL. I’m so proud of you. And I totally understand about the anxiety, I do. And I was always just called an overly sensitive child, although it’s probably not usual for a kid to skip going out with friends because it’s too overwhelming…but I guess it takes a while for families to admit that something is “wrong” or “different”, right?? Agh. But yes. Anyway this post is just amazing and I feel so inspired and encouraged by you just from reading it SO KEEP UP THE FABULOUSNESS. I think you are fabulous. Just sayin’.

    • Aw Cait, you are going to make me cry! Thank you so much <3 Okay, recomposing self...

      You're right- and I was the same way, just avoiding situations that most kids LOVE, because I would panic. I think you're right, it does take families awhile, especially for um, the older generations (YAY I am, for once, not included in that group!). The irony is that my dad has a degree in psychology. That makes me chuckle, because he may need a refund 😉

  4. I’ve only just come across the event you are holding and can I just say, this make me cry actual tears of happiness to see this happening. You’ve inspired me to write my own post in honour of this wonderful event. You should be so proud of yourself for opening yourself up to help and taking that extra step, and all of you for posting your stories. This is the first time I’ve come across your blog, but I am so very proud!!
    Anyway, I’m probably rambling, but keep up the INCREDIBLE work and thankyou for sharing your story.

    • Thank you so, SO much! Your kind words absolutely mean the world to me- and knowing that this event inspired you.. well I can’t even put into words how happy and humbled I am. Your post was so beautiful, and I am so glad you decided to share it! (Oh- and I added a link up now, so feel free to share there too!)

  5. First of all, thank you for sharing this with us, Shannon. It must have been hard and painful for you to do this but thank you. You should know that we are ALLLL here for you and we all think you are a wonderful human being who deserves all the happiness in the world <3 *hugs* YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

    I am so happy to hear that book blogging has helped you come one step closer and I can only hope that some day, things will be a whole lot easier 🙂 I also hope that you'll be able to find a therapist who can help.

    *sends hugs and positive vibes your way*

    • Thank you SO much Rashika! Your support means so, so much- I cannot even tell you, it makes me feel so much less alone. It was definitely not easy- in fact, I didn’t expect it to be as hard as it was, but pushing that “schedule” button was a bit of a challenge! I am so glad I did though, because it feels really liberating- and I really hope it helps others. Thank you again <3 <3 <3

  6. Wow Shannon, thank you so, so, so much for sharing your story! I can’t even imagine all the pain and agony that you have gone through over the years. I have struggled with depression throughout my life and it’s hard when people think you can just get over it. I am so, so glad you wonderful ladies are hosting this event. This is so wonderful and badly needed!

    • Aw thank you so much!! I am sorry that you have gone through it as well, it is certainly not easy! And I agree with you- those “pick yourself up” people really need a smack, yes? Seriously though, I think it is so hard sometimes for people to understand if they’ve never gone through it- that’s what my mom says, that she simply can’t wrap her head around it. I hope you are doing well now, I am always here if you need me <3 Big hugs 😀

  7. Just this one post will make such a difference to so many people, Shannon. Thanks for sharing your story. Have you tried accu-pressure (not puncture!)? My therapist taught me and it’s awesome because you can do it yourself. I find it really brings me out of a crisis or can stop a potential crying jag. I’m off to read the other ladies’ posts.

    • Thank you SO much. I really hope it does make a difference, and I thank you for those kind words. I haven’t done accu-pressure, though I have heard of it! Hopefully if/when I find a new therapist, she’ll be able to teach me that- it sounds like a great thing to try!!

  8. Thank you for sharing this. It was so brave of you! We sound a lot alike, no wonder we became friends. 🙂 If you ever need someone to talk to, I hope you know that I’ll always be there. You’ve been there for me through losing my father and I so appreciate it! I don’t blame you for leaving things out, somethings are just too painful to talk about. I never would’ve expected blogging to help me as much as it does. I’m glad that it’s helped you too!

    • Aw Molly, you have succeeded in actually making me cry (in a good way!), you have no idea how much I appreciate that you’re here to talk to, it means so, so much just to know that there’s someone out there. You are just the best <3 And yeah, the things I left out were honestly just too complicated to get into- basically stuff I am RIGHT in the middle of dealing with, so I don't even know how to explain it- or of course, how it all ends 😉 I tried a few times to type it out but I just didn't know how!

      How are you doing anyway? I miss you around here- I got giddy excited when I got an email saying you had a new post (which is open in another tab as I type this!), I really hope you're doing okay- and the same applies, I am ALWAYS here- you can DM me on Twitter, email me, seriously anything. I am so glad blogging helped you too- and yes, it also took me by surprise! Who'd have thought that fangirling over books would be such a great release? 😀

  9. Thank you for this post! It was so very brave of you to share so much of your story with all of us. I know for me that finding a good therapist made all of the difference in the world! I wish you luck in finding one that works for you. I think #shatteringstigmas is such a fabulous and well-needed idea!

  10. Rae

    Thank you so, so much for sharing your story. I know I’m going to be sharing this post with a few friends of mine, to remind them that they’re definitely not alone in their struggle. I think you’re incredibly brave for not only fighting, but for sharing as well. Even though I haven’t spoken to you much (but a longtime stalker of this blog), know that I’m proud of you and 100% Team Shannon! 🙂

    • Aw thank you SO much! And definitely, I hope your friends are able to find a story that they connect with- and know that they are never, ever alone. Goodness, now I am crying again! Your support means so much, I don’t even really know how to properly thank you. Just know it is appreciated <3

  11. “It’s an endless journey, mental health.” Yes that sums it up perfectly. Thanks for sharing your story and I feel so sorry you had to go through that. I think it’s great you are opening up this topic and making it possible to talk about and I think it’s great that books are finally adressing these topics.

    On the book topic I recently read a great book called Summer Haikus by SJ Pajonas were the main characetr has panic attacks and it was so realistically done. The panic attacks aren’t the focus, but I do think the author handled it very well.

    I have struggled/ struggle with both anxiety and depression and always believed I had to solve it myself, I’ve never seen a therapist and I never have been on medication, but I do manage somehow. I also studied psychology and used to self diagnose and diagnose others, there is a term for that as well, although it’s more common with medical students. Although I am faily certain I got quite some of my diagnosis correct. The worst thing about depression is knowing it will never go away and can come back eventually. For now I am doing okay, but I know it probably will hit again eventually. Beside that I have some anxiety issues the most obvious ones some phobias, which are just in the zone I can handle, although I really hope to get rid of at least my fear of dogs eventually.

    Sorry for rambling on. All in all I think this is a great idea and I can’t wait to see what other posts you have planned as part of this.

    • Oh, I will absolutely be checking Summer Haikus out- that sounds fabulous! I have really been enjoying books where the mental illness isn’t the focus, but just PART of the character’s life!

      Aw, Lola, I am so sorry you’ve been going through this too. You know, the fear of dogs is terrifying- especially since society cannot seem to understand it. I have had that fear since I was VERY young, and still have it as an adult, though luckily to a bit of a lesser degree (I CAN be around some dogs, but only if they’re calm- jumping is just out of the question). People laugh it off, and tease, and in my experience, sometimes even ENCOURAGE dogs to jump on you and such- I don’t think they realize how cruel it is.

      I really do hope that if it comes to a point where you can’t handle it, you will talk to someone. I really hate the thought of you going through this alone. If you ever want to talk, or just chat to distract yourself, I am always here- feel free to email me, DM me, anything! <3

      • Thanks so much! That means a lot to me! And it’s just nice to hear someone who really understands. People often diminish my fear by saying they are only dogs and won’t hurt me. But I am not afraid of them hurting me, I am just afraid of them. And I love animals and I think dogs are cute, but I am still terrified of them.

        Just like you I can be around some dogs, but for me it’s more that I have to get to know that dog and been around it for a few times to be able to handle it and indeed if they are calm. I never had animals around when I was little so I have had a hard time understand their behavior, I think that’s part of it.

        Visiting the vet with our rats often turns into a fearfull experience as there are often dogs in the waiting room, but if I position myself right so they won’t have to pass me I can just handle it. Last time I visited there was a women who nicely pulled her dog to the side, I really appreciated that. I think that part of society not understanding is often the hardest to deal with, if people notice I a afraid and take their dog away or avoid me, it becomes so much easier, but so many people don’t understand which makes it only harder.

        My fears still influence my life, but I can handle it for now. We luckily live into an apartment building without dogs at the moment and I can work from home, both those help a lot.

  12. *hug* So sorry it’s been so rough. I hope that writing down and putting those feelings out there helps in some small way. It’s funny, I was reading the part about your well-thought-out 7-year-old fears and laughed… because that sounds EXACTLY like me… now. :p Having a creative mind means that you can imagine up all kinds of weird things (and for me they’re usually terrifying). I can’t drive past a garbage bag on the side of the road without assuming it’s a bag of dismembered body parts or something equally grisly. I did learn how to channel them, and now I use them to FREAK OTHER PEOPLE OUT! HAH! So I guess there was a good use for them.

    • Thanks love <3 It really did, actually- it's quite freeing just to kind of let it all out, you know? But I love that you think it is a sign of creativity- because that's one thing that I always worry I am lacking, and as much as I WANT to write, I haven't been able to find "my" story. You, by the way, are AWESOME at freaking people out. In the best possible way!

  13. It’s so incredibly brave of you to share your story, Shannon. I knew that you struggled with depression, but I never realized the extent of it or the pain that you’ve been living with. I truly hope that you find the support system (and the therapist) that you need, and I’m glad that book blogging and the community that you’ve met through it have been a blessing to you. I think that this event that you’re hosting is incredible and will help many people know that they’re not alone!

  14. I honestly am speechless because you have blown me away Shannon. This is such a wonderful and phenomenal story that must have taken guts to share with us. I’m glad you stayed strong throughout it all, the bitching during practice, those horrible ads (like wtf), and even all the things you didn’t mention. I am so so so so so proud of you, and don’t forget that I am always here to listen <3 <3 <3

    And on that note, I am very excited for this event!

    • Aww Val! You are too sweet, and you’re going to make me cry! I don’t know what I would do without you- you’re like the little ball of sunshine in our group, and there have been so many days that you’ve cheered me up, maybe without even knowing it. Also, Ollie pictures 😀

  15. First of all, thank you for sharing your story with us so honestly. That must have taken a lot of courage, and I think you’re wonderful!

    #ShatteringStigmas is fantastic. I think the way we think about mental health has improved in recent years, but there’s still so much uncertainty and judgment around it that needn’t exist. There’s that old saying, isn’t there, that people fear what they don’t understand, and I think that’s true of mental health. If someone has a broken leg you can see that their leg is in a cast, but if someone has depression they’re often met with ‘well what do you have to be sad about?’

    I’m really looking forward to the rest of #ShatteringStigmas – thank you again for sharing your story with us. 🙂

    • Aw THANK YOU <3 I agree with you 100%- yes, there have been improvements, and YES there is sadly a long way to go. Even now, I am baffled by how many people think of therapy as a "bad" thing. How is trying to feel better a bad thing EVER?! And YES- you said it perfectly- people don't understand what they can't see, can't feel. Thank you so much, your enthusiasm for the event means a lot 😀

  16. Shannon! I know I already said this one twitter, but you’re so brave for sharing this, and I’m sure it’s going to help a lot of people who struggle with the same issues. Things like this should be talked about a lot more openly and honestly, and all of you hosting this event contribute to that, so thank you!

  17. Shannon, I am sitting here in AWE of your Honesty and your Bravery and your Strength. You’re amazing. It’s cliche but true… we never really know what those around us are going through. Especially those who put a smile on their face and just carry on. I struggled with depression throughout adolescence and, similar to your background, my parents kind of chalked it up to me being shy/emotional/etc. I in NO way blame them. This was 25+ years ago and it’s not like mental health issues were in the forefront. These days the issue is social anxiety. I try hard to push past it, to overcome it, but it’s a struggle. I mentioned it briefly to my mom recently and she replied “But you’re always so outgoing!.” And I wanted to say, “Wow, do you even know me at all?” :-/ Maybe I put on a better act than I thought.

    Thanks so much for sharing this and opening up a dialogue. I hope and wish so much that you will find the therapist who will listen, understand, and help. In the meantime, you have so much support here, including me. {{{hugs}}}

    • Goodness, I am going to cry again, you are too sweet! I am so sorry you went through some of the same things, I wouldn’t wish them on anyone. I do see what you mean about your parents- I guess in a sense, it frustrated me because my dad has a degree in psychology, yet he was probably the most clueless about how I felt, you know? I think we DO put on acts too- and often, I think you are absolutely right- we do a better job than we think- and than we ought to. It’s a struggle, for sure.

      And THANK YOU- I cannot tell you how much the support means to me. When I decided to go forward with this event (which was just a random thought I had while looking at the slew of mental health books on my TBR in March!) I really wondered how it would all be received, and my goodness, it’s just one in a long line of examples of how amazingly wonderful this community is. You guys are just… I don’t think we have a word for how fabulous <3

  18. WOW. Shannon, you are so brave to share this with us all. I don’t know how you found the guts to type this all up, but wow. Just wow. Your story is something I think a lot of people will be able to see themselves in, so, on behalf of everyone who reads this post, thank you for sharing this. I’ll be thinking of you and I hope you find a therapist who you really click with and like. Can’t wait to see the other posts you have scheduled for this event – I’m sure they’re all going to be fabulous! ♥

    • Aw thank you so, so much. You know, it’s weird, but I didn’t struggle that much with sharing it with you guys- for some reason, I feel like you all are my safe place. The hesitation I had posting were more with my family seeing it and stuff, but then I figured, meh, screw ’em 😉 This is something that like you said, SO many people deal with, and I just hope that this whole event helps someone, somewhere, and I will consider it a success. Thank you so much Zoe, your support means the world <3 <3 <3

  19. First, this sounds like an awesome event. I can’t wait to read more. There have been so many books published this year on mental health and I think that’s a great thing.
    Second – wow, you are so brave for sharing this! Thank you for being willing to put yourself out there, I know that can be a scary thing. I can’t say that I’ve experienced anything even close to what you have, but I’m here for you always. I hope you’ll find what you need to be happy and to just be you. <3

  20. I hope that it all turns out well for you! *hugs!* Thanks for asking. It’s still hard.

    I haven’t done a very good job of blogging this summer. I must try harder. Thank you!

    • I can’t even imagine, and I don’t know that it ever WON’T be hard, you know? I just think that maybe, eventually, most days you find ways to get through, to cope. I don’t think that “time heals all wounds”, this is a wound that won’t heal, but time WILL likely give you insight on how to make it more manageable. I just wish I could give you a big hug.

      And no- no worries AT ALL about blogging! Just keep in touch somehow, that’s all! I miss YOU- screw posting 😉

  21. Wow. This post. You are seriously one of the bravest people I know, if nothing else, for this post. Seriously, I don’t know how you wrote this I could never write something so personal and actually post it on the internet. It’s just, like, I feel like I can connect with your story so much and know a lot of other people will be inspired by it. It’s so great that blogging has helped you, it’s so great that there’s a community where people can talk and books and everything and connect so much with other people.

    It’s amazing that you shared your story and have been so brave and strong this whole time. I wish you the best of luck in continuing to find yourself, because you’re pretty dang awesome, Shannon. =)

  22. I meant to comment a lot sooner 🙁 But anyway!

    Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through this. I had similar fears about robbers turned murderers growing up too. I still do actually… Sleeping was actually really hard when I was a kid (still is, but, less/more so).

    So that was why your parents made you go to college out of state. Aw. You didn’t eat for weeks? Oh, Shannon<3 🙁

    Ugh, your doctor sounds ridiculous "You sound depressed", that's it? That's all of it? REALLY? No talking to you? No suggesting 'coping' methods? No "Maybe you should see a counselor. I know one"? Nothing? Just GIVES YOU A BOX OF PROZAC? What in the world? Ugh.

    And your former teammates piss me off, there was OBVIOUSLY something wrong with you, you weren't okay and they want to make light of it and get pissed at you over it? Wow. That's horrible.

    "I can do it, when I have to." That line just sounds so…real. Like you just do what you have to basically.

    Your post just makes me so sad. I'm so sad you felt/feel so bad for so long. And those stupid commercials are so STUPID. Omg. I hate that you saw them. 🙁 Gosh, that's not going to help anyone. HOW IS MAKING A COMMERCIAL TO PEOPLE WHO ARE ON MEDICATIONS, GOING TO HELP THEM WITH THEIR CHILD? HOW? They're just so stupid.

    A support system is definitely key, I'm still working on that one a bit, but I'm so glad to be part of yours<3 Self-confidence is SO hard to have, it really, really is. I've suffered with those issues for, ha, a while.

    Anyway, this was a lovely, amazing post and I love you and I especially love you for being so open and honest by writing this post. You are amazing. <3

    And I love that quote from Devoted.

  23. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am not a place where I will share mine online, but maybe one day. I know it helps to talk about and know you are not alone. For me, asking for help was the biggest step and the best thing I ever did. There is such a stimga attached to mental illness and it is so sad because nobody wants this chemical imbalance. I love that things like this are making it easier for people. You rock for sharing this!

  24. Shannon, thank you so much for sharing your story! You are amazingly brave and I am so sorry you’re struggling. I hope you’ll find the right counselor for you, that will help you (for real, not like that idiot who said “you’re depressed” and that’s it). The support system idea is very good. I know self-confidence is hard to achieve. But I know you’ll get there. I also can’t wait to see what posts you have planned for this event.

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