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The Aftermath of Admitting

January 20, 2020 Karianne 4 min read 2 Comments

After sharing my struggle with depression, and the 3-days that hit harder than I’d ever experienced before (or since), emails, comments, and texts came pouring in. People in Kenya, Cameroon, Philippines, and across the United States shared their story with me. I couldn’t believe it. So many people in my life battle the same thing or worse, and I had no idea.

I only knew the smiling face. Their since-we-met history.

I had no idea that someone I look up to tried to commit suicide in high school, and still has to push down dark thoughts. They wrote, “There are still times when the depression hits, when I don’t want to get out of bed, when I don’t want to talk to ANYBODY, and I don’t understand the point of it all…I am so So very proud of you for putting a voice to this.”

I had no idea that one of my teachers struggles with “the tunnel of expectations,” which can trigger depression. To me she was always like Supergirl. Confident and unstoppable.

After this experience I learned that every person, even the happy, invincible ones, get knocked down. Even though it’s easy to think of stranger as someone I have nothing in common with, every single one of us has had a rain-cloud mindset. That’s what I’m calling it now. Depression sounds like something that never lets up, but for me it comes more like rain.

Some days it rains hard, and some days there’s not a cloud in sight. It’s my hope that the next time I get drenched I can remember that the rain will break and the sun will peek through again.

Maaaany people asked me, “How could you let yourself get so low? Don’t you know your life matters?” or “Don’t you know what it’d do to me if you died?” Things like that. And yes, of course I know those things, but when you turn out the lights it’s impossible to see why those things matter.

I know that’s difficult to accept, and I’m sorry, but when I was depressed, drowning under a rain-cloud mindset, thinking about how someone else would feel if I died didn’t make a dent. I thought of everyone I love, how they’d feel with me gone, the tears and the hole that never heals, but I didn’t feel like dying any less.

Some may understand that (those who have also been through something like this). But for others, thinking like that is unthinkable, and I hope it always stays that way for them.

Among the sympathy I also received concern. My boyfriend and just about every family member asked if I needed to go on medication. But I wasn’t surprised. I knew that openly sharing about this attack would raise a lot of red flags around me.

“It woke us up…I guess we need to be nicer to you,” one person said over the phone.

“We should be nicer to everyone,” I replied, and I’m pretty proud of that.

Others said it was a beautiful article, very well written, but they also wondered how it might look to future employers. “You should consider taking it down.” And I did think about it, but I left it up for one reason.

IT helped someone.

“Just let it help one person,” I prayed when I shared the story on Facebook. And over the next 2 days an overwhelming number of comments came in, but one of the ones that made the decision final came from a friend from college. We’re close, but not super close. I’m so grateful she openly shared that she was struggling right now and said, “reading this helped remind me to just keep going and to never stop fighting.”

That’s why I’ll kept it up. That’s why I’ll keep this whole site up for as long as I can afford to.

I can already see small ways I changed after this experience. I do my best to stop any negative thoughts about my ex before they burn out of control. When a small voice whispers no one likes you, you’re worthless, it’s too much…I ask “Do I really believe that?” And I’m usually able to kick out the thoughts, pull the weeds before they sprout.

(I just bought a #NotTodaySatan floral pin)

But someday I’ll fail, and I’ll need to reach out again. Talking about our low points in life is scary. It’s admitting weakness. Admitting that I became overwhelmed by everyday life—something we believe everyone else handles perfectly. People will think you’re talking about it for attention, or they’ll pull away because of “drama”.

But some will stay, and some people will be better because you broke through the bright yellow caution-do-not-talk-about-this tape.

Although it’s tempting to hide things like this—bury them in the sand and sing Baby Shark loud enough to drown any reminders because we want to be perfect, we want to be happy—what this world needs most of all is for everyone to be real.

Did you miss a thing? Read part 1, The end is not today.

Meet the author
Founder - Art Director - Student | Website

Book progressBucket list

Karianne is the founder of Windmill Ways. She plays the cello professionally and currently works as an Art Director for a charity. Because she loves animated shows and kids movies, she finished her BFA in 3D Animation with the class of 2020. Her dream vacation would be just staying home, but "home" being a glamorous cabin somewhere in the mountains surrounded by forest.

Favorite band: Lord Huron
Favorite book: This Present Darkness
Favorite quote: "Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail." Proverbs 19:20-21 (NLT)

Would you like to share your story on Windmill Ways? Apply here.

2 Comments

  • Laurie Gabriel January 29, 2020 at 12:46 pm

    Karianne – do not take it down!!! This one also gave me a lump in my throat and goosebumps (‘specially the Supergirl part – wow). I sometimes don’t find out until years…decades later that I helped one of my students get through a difficult time. You are impressing upon lives, including mine right now.

    A few weeks ago, one of my 11-year-olds slipped me a note. It detailed how depressed he was and it was scary. I don’t feel qualified to help him but the counselors weren’t doing anything and his parents weren’t doing anything so it’s down to me. All I could think to do was give him free cello lessons. Since we started our lessons, he is a completely different person. I’m gonna stay in contact with him for however long he needs me. Glad I’m the one he slipped the note to. Something divine is surrounding us.

    You are gonna save lives, Supergirl.

    Love ya!!!
    Mrs. G

    • Karianne January 31, 2020 at 9:46 am

      Hi Mrs. G! “…impressing upon lives.” *Grabs paper bag.* I do not feel qualified at all, but like you said, sometimes people need us before we think we’re ready. Thank you for the encouragement! It’s embarrassing, but talking about tough stuff is part of the reason I started this site. And I’m really glad he reached out to you. I know that orchestra and cello lessons with you was always the highlight of my day. Even now, whenever I sit down to play the cello just for fun I feel a hundred times lighter. I feel so happy knowing that you’re still the super hero I remember!
      Sending my love!

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