Two words are appropriate.
I wanted to be sure to communicate one last message of gratitude for all your support.
My first post published only a couple of months after I was hospitalized for severe and suicidal depression (for the second time in a year). I had been unable to commit any words to paper before then, for six months, and so the idea of writing a regular blog scared the bejeezus out of me. However, some voice inside of me told me it was an important exercise in “paying it forward.”
The invitation came a few weeks after the topic of depression made front-page news in Annapolis with the suicide of Phil Merrill, a renowned publisher, entrepreneur and diplomat in the Washington area. Eleven days later Montgomery County Executive Douglas Duncan withdrew his candidacy for governor of Maryland because of his struggle with depression. Articles cited all the people that had come out as depressives, past and present: Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Kay Redfield Jamison, Archbishop Raymond Roussin, Mike Wallace, William Styron, Art Buchwald, Robin Williams, Patty Duke, and Brooke Shields.
These people crawled out of their comfort zone to help others, and they had a lot more to lose than I did.
Abraham Lincoln wanted people to know that his melancholy was a “misfortune, not a fault,” and that his humor, his jokes, were the “vents of [his] moods and gloom.” British Prime Minster Winston Churchill referred to his deep melancholy as his “black dog.” It was his teacher of perseverance. Kay Redfield Jamison reminded folks that “tumultuousness, if coupled with discipline and a cool mind, is not such a bad sort of thing.” Without Lincoln, Churchill, Jamison, and the others, I’d think I really was going crazy and stand crippled, terrified in my darkness.
They were missionaries of truth about mental illness.
And Beyond Blue was my opportunity to be one too.
This would have been impossible without your kindness, empathy, and thoughtfulness. It’s not easy to be vulnerable in front of people you haven’t shook hands with and for whom you can’t guess their real hair color. But you made it easy. In fact, it felt more natural to disclose intimate details of my life on Beyond Blue than in conversations with many of my relatives.
This isn’t the end of my writing. I have started a blog for Everyday Health called “Sanity Break,” and I’m a regular contributor to Psych Central and to Answers.com as their Depression Expert. I will also be writing one gallery a month for Beliefnet, as well as contributing to other sites. Of course, you can find me here too, where I will link to all of my writing.
I’d like to thank my original editor, Holly Rossi, for helping me to launch Beyond Blue. It was really a partnership and I’ll be forever indebted for all that she invested into the blog.
I’d also like to thank all the editors and staff at Beliefnet—both past and present—for everything they did to help sustain the blog over seven years.
Mostly, I want to thank you, readers, for the gift of your support. You kept me well for seven years, and everything you taught me in those years will keep me on the road of recovery for years to come.