After the fire, no one quite knew what to do with her. Madonna Badger lost her three children and both of her parents in that home fire, and it seemed like she'd lost herself as well.
She was shuffled from treatment center to treatment center, all of them trying to fight a mental illness they couldn't quite get their hands around. Nothing got better for her.
No one knew what to do with her.
Until a doctor in Arkansas spoke up.
"She's not crazy. She's just sad."
Well, of course she was. She had to be unimaginably sad. We understand that the grief of a parent burying a child is beyond all expected experience. Badger buried all three of hers. Along with her parents.
The generation before her and the generation her after both gone in an instant. She's not crazy. She's just sad.
I don't know why all of those other doctors and nurses missed it. I'm glad someone finally noticed.
For all of the brilliance to the Inside Out movie, a lot of folks (including professionals) are still...
It's not like it's not hard enough to be depressed.
Trying to put on the happy face so you can avoid the "what's wrong" questions. Or the "Don't tell me you're still depressed" comments.
It's not like it's hard enough to get out of bed and remember to eat. Or to stop eating. To try to work or go to school when your brain is mush.
It's not like it's not hard enough not to stand in the middle of Target and let out the banshee wail that's deep in your gut. Or to care about anything. Or anyone.
Then some jackleg preacher comes along and tells you that you wouldn't be so depressed if you just followed his prescription: "We will find mental health when we stop staring in the mirror, and fix our eyes and hearts on the promises of God."
Dear God, doesn't he know how much you avoid the mirror these days? Who wants to see that?
Then just when you think it's safe to go back to Twitter (or as safe as it ever is) another preacher holds forth. "Depression is a result of...
"I think I'm doing it wrong," he says to me.
He's had a loss in his life, and he's grieving. That means that sometimes he feels lost. Or sad. Or angry and frustrated. Or numb.
'Cause, you know... he's grieving.
But he's worried that he's not doing it right. Surely things would be more orderly. Or his brain wouldn't be so mushy and unreliable. Or he'd just be done by now 'cause you know, it's been five whole months.
He's not only suffering from grief. He's suffering from the grief grader. It's that little voice in your head (and sometimes not so little) that says that You Are Doing It Wrong.
I tell my clients that no one I know has ever flunked grief. There are days in which we march bravely into the abyss, allowing ourselves to feel every heartbreaking, soul shattering feeling. And there are times in which we cushion ourselves against such feelings with ice cream and Netflix marathons.
The former doesn't mean we are flunking the latter. It just means that sometimes we need a...