After I posted about the podcast, I tried to stay away from social media or anywhere in which I would receive responses. My actual course of action was to hit post on Facebook and Instagram and immediately logoff both applications.
I received a few email responses really quickly, before I had opened any of the emails my eyes were welling with tears. Ultimately, I made it a bigger deal than I needed to. People were kind in their responses, many said they were around if I ever needed to talk, or told me how brave I am.
I can tell you one thing, I didn't feel very brave and I still don't feel very brave.
What I did realize though, is no matter what I felt, people were talking. They were talking about a subject that as a society we shy away from. Family members reached out to me saying they didn't realize how deep depression ran in our blood line.
I've had many ideas of how I should follow up on the podcast, what I should say or share and I haven't been able to find the right words. Until today when I had a breakthrough.
At this point, I can't get into the details of the conversation that was had to day but I can share my takeaways from it.
Everyone, we have to keep talking.
We have to talk about the hard stuff, we have to ask the questions we might not want the answers to, we have to tell people we love them, we have to be kind, we have to ask for help, we have to support each other and above all else, we have to carry the burden for one another.
What I learned today is that no matter what you think might come from a conversation (or in my example when I thought would come from the podcast) you have to speak up. Have you ever read a book twice and realized you picked up something completely different the second time you read it? That's how our conversations work.
I expected people with depression or those thinking about committing suicide to listen to my story and maybe not feel so alone. I expected people to reach out and say I was brave. I expected people to lend a listening ear.
What I didn't expect was someone coming to me and admitting they are bi-polar and letting me know they hadn't been able to admit that for the last 17 years. I didn't expect someone saying "I was just having an off day and the podcast reminded me I'm not alone". I didn't expect to be pulled aside and hear "I'm proud of you" come from one of my best friends. I didn't expect it to be so hard for so many people to hear. I didn't expect it to encourage someone to go to the hospital and find out they are severely ill with months to live.
I didn't expect to make an impact.
I've thanked every person that came to me and I meant it. I thanked them because they could've kept it to themselves but they decided to share it with me. I've been feeling called to continue talking and sharing but I don't know what to say the majority of the time. Knowing people are able to take something away from a conversation, even when the main theme isn't applicable to them shows me that sometimes what you say is not as important as the fact that you say something.
So thank you, all of you, that have reached out, for giving me one more reason to keep talking.
You don't have to carry it alone.