Recently, I was called to give a speech.
Here is the text of that speech:
“She’s eight years old and she’s drowning, held underwater in a swimming pool.
Yesterday, she loved running on a hilltop in Redwood City. The grass feeling cool between her toes. Yesterday, she climbed a tree.
But today, her brother holds her down, underwater. She is drowning. And he is waiting. Waiting for her to stop moving.
What does this do to a little girl?
I can tell you. My brother finally stepped away.
But the tough times didn’t end there. My brother kept up his torture of me until I couldn’t take it anymore.
So at 8 years old, I stepped to the edge of my bunk bed. I wrapped some yarn around my neck again and again. I stepped off my bunk bed – And I hung there for a moment—until the yarn broke.
My story is about stepping OUT of the darkness.
Sure, I’ve experienced dark times, but I’ve also experienced other things.
I once turned to a friend and said, “How many depressed people does it take to change a light bulb? None. They just sit there in the dark.” [audience laughter]
I’m glad to be speaking with you today about stepping OUT of the darkness.
Along that line, I’m going to share with you the 3 Steps of Empowerment.
The First Step is Diagnosis. When I was 11, I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder – another term for this is clinical depression. Clinical Depression is not just feeling the blues. It isn’t just sometimes feeling sad. It doesn’t just go away like Seasonal Affect Disorder.
Clinical Depression is like having tinnitus. That’s the condition where you have constant ringing in your ears. Except this situation is a horrible feeling of pain, sadness, and hopelessness. It can get so bad that death seems like the only way out. A friend of mine killed himself. He had clinical depression.
So Diagnosis is the First Step.
The Second Step is: The person must say, “I want help.”
I’m using the word “say” – but the situation is really about taking action. The depressed person needs to take action.
You and I cannot help a depressed person if they don’t want help. If they won’t take their meds, and if they won’t show up for therapy – there’s not much we can do.
I know that I have family members who want to find a “Happy button” on me. Well—I don’t have a Happy button on me.
Can I borrow yours? [I address an extrovert in the audience. The audience laughs.]
As I mentioned: the Second Step is when the person says, “I want help.” The depressed person has to choose it.
I wanted help. So I worked with psychiatrists and therapists. And I take appropriate medication.
The Third Step is: Maintenance.
Sometimes, I think of maintenance of my well-being as a daily fight. I have certain “weapons” to use to hold my ground against clinical depression.
First, I have a therapy animal, a cat I named Magick. I called him Magick because he makes food disappear! [audience laughter]
I love him and petting him helps me to feel better. He helps me switch to happier thoughts. I feel he takes away some of the pain.
Second, I stay active. I go out with friends when possible. I enjoy laughing with friends. I also stay active by taking daily walks with my sweetheart.
Third, I have things that I do for myself when I’m alone. Knitting and writing are great ways to help me cope.
I have shared with you 3 Steps of Empowerment that mean a lot to me.
2) The person must say “I want help.”
And finally about that eight-year-old girl who felt no one cared … She is still inside me, but now I am a full grown woman.
I am here.
I will protect her.”
People have told me that the above is a powerful speech.
As a Wiccan, I still feel, at times, that I must protect myself.
Do you feel the same?
How can you protect yourself from those who do not care or do not understand our Pagan path?
I’ve learned that I need to face reality. To this day, my parents still do not respect my Wiccan path. They never ask me questions nor hear me out.
Part of taking care of myself is to gather with like-minded people who love me.
May you find your tribe.
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