Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Be Not Afraid

Three-year-old Katherine was demoted from an angel to a star in her preschool Christmas pageant. It called to mind the pangs of devastation I felt in the fifth grade when I lost out to Marci Simons for the part of Mary. Maybe I needed some re-wiring in my brain back then, or maybe I was psychic, because Marci went on to steal my boyfriend five years later.

“A star is better than a walnut,” said the barista at my favorite coffee joint. She was also demoted from an angel (to a walnut because her third-grade teacher decided the class was going to represent a cornucopia instead of the nativity scene–Mary and Joseph were so “last year.”)

Honestly, I was a little bummed out for Katherine, because I still remember my lines as the Angel Gabriel: “Be not afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you.” I recite those lines a lot as a person with a fragile brain chemistry. I say them especially on the dark days when I am afraid.

And I call on my angels. All of them. Even the ones that got demoted.

  • Kevin Keough

    “Be not afraid”, the three words John Paul II used to launch his Pontificate, are embedded in my heart. It’s hard to imagine anyone getting through the unspeakable agony of depression without them. It’s so very refreshing to hear from someone willing to share their experience of Depression in such a real way. Too often people try to glamorize the experience. A book I recommend to help people ‘get’ depression as a disease is “Against Depression’ by Peter Kramer, M.D.Kudos to Therese for her important work and message of hope.

  • http://HASH(0xcee7668) maggy

    Hello Therese, Kudos to you for being brave enough to actually write about your condition! I have spent 19 years denying and re-naming my bi-polar disorder so much that I may have even convinced others that I am not a psychotic lunatic,… today at least. Your story sounds very familiar to me, my “disorder” came out about a week after my first daughter was born in 1987, (hormones, which was years later called “thyroid storm) I blamed it on morphine, the doctors said it was “post-partum psychosis”, and I spent about 3 weeks in a psychiatric ward doing the “thorazine” shuffle…Finally once I did actually believe, I was not Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, and came back to earth, I had a bout of depression two years later that landed me up in yet another psychiatric ward, for a much longer period of time, off on on about 6 months. Then doctors said I had “postpartum depression”, for which I experienced some ECT therapy, about 33 lovely sessions to be exact, which I am glad to report I do not remember much of! Thank God! Actually I do not remember much of any of that time of my life, I do not know if I have blocked it out, or am just getting old, but I do know that I have grown quite a bit since then mentally, I am alot smarter about all of my many illnesses and know that what happened to me in 1987 was just the beginning of a very enlightening journey, and had none of it ever happened, I would not be who I am today, which is a survivor! I used to be a weak, scared, insecure girl who did not want anyone to think she was crazy! Now I know that crazy is not so bad, it’s how you use it that can be. I decided I was going to use it for good and embrace it honestly and it has been working out alot better for me that way! Anyway, I have tons more to say but this is not my blog, and I just wanted to say Hello and congratulate you on your journey! maggy

  • http://HASH(0xcee78f0) Karen

    Maggy, I worked in a psychiatric hospital years ago that provided ECT. Memory loss can be a side effect of ECT treatments. Sometimes it comes back and other times not. Sometimes memory loss is a good thing. God bless your Christmas. Karen

  • beth wilson

    Bringing out your stories of your depression and the illness that it is, reminds me of “coming out” that homosexuals go through in order to tell folks they are gay. We as people who suffer daily from mental illness, depression and all the ugly stepsisters of mental illness..struggle to be normal, hide the problems, stay away from people who trip our triggers, issues that set us off for fear people will find out about us. Heaven forbid people see mental illness, depression as something that is “normal”. It can happen to the brightest and the best. So, as more of us “come out” with our stories and lives of depression, anxiety, bipolar..and the like the more the public will accept it as something that happens and it can be treated and doesn’t mean we have to hide away and be afraid of someone finding out and labelling us as loons.

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