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Living With Depression, It's Not About Resilience
From:
Frank King -- The Mental Health Comedian Frank King -- The Mental Health Comedian
Eugene , OR
Friday, December 21, 2018


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https://youtu.be/3D4m33DXtsIResilienceWhen it comes to depression and thoughts of suicide, I think the concept of resilience as a way to prevent suicide is overrated.Every week it seems like one organization or other announces a suicide prevention program wrapped around resilience. Bless their hearts for trying to do something about this epidemic (one person in the US dies by suicide every 15 minutes), but I think their hearts (and their pocketbooks) are in the wrong place.That said, I hope I am wrong. I hope their efforts bear fruit. However, I think it is a very neuro-normal or neuro typical solution to a neuro-diverse problem. Like Nancy Reagan's program, "Just Say No," antidrug campaign. It was an upperclass solution to an underclass problem. It's easy to "Just Say No," to drugs if you're living the life of the 1%. A little more difficult, if you're living in low income housing, on welfare and food stamps (and know that's not dog whistle for African American, the average person on welfare and food stamps is a single, white mother with two children).My personal experience tells me otherwise. Some of the most resilient people I know are those with depression and frequent thoughts of suicide. I think neuro-typical or neuro-typical people underestimate the amount of strength, courage, and yes resilience it takes just to get out of bed in the morning, paste on a smile, put one foot in front of the other and march through the world as if nothing is wrong, until it's a socially acceptable time to crawl back in bed and pull the covers over their head.Having a mental illness is a lot like the story of Sisyphus, the Greek character who was sentenced to push a rock up a hill every day, only to have it roll back down when he got it near the top. Having a mental illness, every day when you wake up, there is a rock and a hill. Somedays the rock is small, and the hill is not so steep. Somedays the rock is a boulder, and the hill is Mount Everest. But there is always a rock, and there is always a hill.I live with Major Depressive Disorder and Chronic Suicidality (meaning for me the option of suicide is always on the menu as a solution for problems large and small), and I'm one of the most resilient people I know. Everyday, I move that rock.I've survived near suicide attempt (close enough to taking my life that I can tell you what the barrel of my gun tastes like), two aortic valve replacements, a double bypass, a heart attack and three stents.I had the heart attack in the woods, walking the dogs a half mile from the car and two miles from home. I had T-Mobile, so I didn't have cell service.When I got to the hospital and my cardiologist got a look, in real time, at my heart attack on the angiogram, he said to me, "You walked a half mile, drove two miles, and survived a 25-minute ambulance ride having THAT heart attack? Your will to live is off the charts"It was all I could do not to say, "No, I've lived with Heart Disease, High Cholesterol, Arthrosclerosis, Major Depressive Disorder and Chronic Suicidality all of my life, I'm just resilient"
 
Frank King
The Mental Health Comedian
The Mental Health Comedian
Springfield, OR
858.405.5653