40 Reasons I Continue Fighting My Depression

40 Reasons I Continue Fighting My Depression

14. Because telling my story might give others like me the strength to keep fighting
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A few months back I wrote a tribute to the radio show host known as Delilah Renee, who's station has offered love and kindness to many loyal listeners for over 30 years. About a week ago, Delilah shared a post across her social media pages regarding the loss of her son to depression and how she would be taking a leave from the station while grieving. Many people reached out to me to see if I had seen her post, and most of their texts went unanswered.

Today, October 10th, is World Mental Health Day. In honor of Delilah's son and all the other people out there who are have dealt with depression on a daily basis, I have decided to share my own struggle with depression. This piece was written for a class, but I feel that its relevance is too significant to lock away in my computer or notebook. It shares a title with the headline of this article, which is "40 Reasons I Continue Fighting My Depression."



1. Because I’ve spent my entire life battling severe asthma and am not ready to lose this war



2. Because I’m afraid the people I rely on and believe in rely on and believe in me just as much


3. Because I haven’t seen the widespread arms of the Milky Way in the sky yet



4. Because I want to see the song “Seasons of Love” performed live and sing along





5. Because I know every song from “Wicked” by heart and still haven’t seen it



6. Because I don’t want my gravestone to read “Would sooner die than take Intro to Shakespeare”



7. Because I’ve only lost 88 pounds so far this year and I know there’s a diamond within me waiting to shine



8. Because no matter how unlovable I feel, I have to believe there’s someone out there for me



9. Because giving up means hurting others, something I can’t bring myself to do



10. Because if I die, my father would have been right in telling me my health was a risky investment



11. Because I want to find someone to sing “I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain to





12. Because my suitemates would never again hear me singing love songs at 2 in the morning



13. Because I still believe I can make a difference, and I can’t squander that chance



14. Because telling my story might give others like me the strength to keep fighting



15. Because Juan Felipe Herrera challenged me to turn my pain into a force of change in the world



16. Because I can still prove to the world that not all American men are heartless bastards



17. Because I’d love to take a show choir to compete with a set list of Journey songs



18. Because Enrique Iglesias’ song “Hero” taught me I was gay at the age of 8 and that’s too funny not to share





19. Because a pen pal from New Zealand went out of his way to teach me to love myself after 23 years of hate.



20. Because I can contribute to the legacy of the “Rogue Writers” at the University of Cincinnati



21. Because so many successful authors have entered my life and told me they believe in me



22. Because I still haven’t gotten said successful authors to sign my copies of their books



23. Because if I give up now, no one will have known who the real “Danny Rader” was



24. Because I’m falling for my pen pal from New Zealand and believe he’s worth fighting for



25. Because my writers at Odyssey are beautiful people, and I could never damage their passion



26. Because I’ve helped four people through dealing with suicidal thoughts and can’t do that to them



27. Because my baby half-sister looks up to me and I want to be there for her until she’s sick of me



28. Because I’m the healthiest physically I’ve been in 8 years and it was really fucking hard



29. Because my father randomly bought me a grave plot already and I never want to fill it



30. Because my stepfather told me he’s looking forward to the opportunity of skipping my funeral



31. Because if I could survive over 2 years of constant verbal abuse, I can survive my self hatred



32. Because I haven’t told Cameron Dewald, a childhood friend, how sorry I am for abandoning him



33. Because I am living a life for two and cannot disappoint the first real friend I had growing up



34. Because I still have yet to finish my great American novel and get it critiqued by Stephen King



35. Because Delilah’s station has been there for me every step of the way, and she believes in me



36. Because my therapist has been incredible and I want to keep bringing her poems



37. Because emotional poetry is just as real as everything else and I think it gets a bad rap



38. Because maybe I can become the man I once envisioned myself becoming



39. Because I’ve surprisingly made it to 39 points and have a lot more to live for than I ever thought



40. Because even today when I couldn’t find the strength to function, I reached for my pen and paper

Depression and anxiety can strike when you least expect it, and those struggling with it on a daily basis have to constantly learn new ways of managing their responsibilities, and from what I've learned from experience, it can be incredibly overwhelming.

This list poem is almost a week in the making. I say this because it took me that long to really consider what I had that was worth living for. Some of the items are things I've yet to do, some are things that have happened to me that I feel the need to prove wrong or overcome, but ultimately all of them together align like an old jigsaw puzzle and reveal who I am. I'm tired of hiding, and I'm tired of feeling like I'm always at the mercy of what happens to me.

If you're struggling, know that you are not alone. If you're ready to rise above what's holding you back, then drop a comment and share a few things that you have to live for. Help those at the end of their rope by showing them just how real your problems are and how you think you can beat them.

If you need someone to talk to, then shoot an email my way at rader.editing@gmail.com or message me on Facebook (Danny Rader) and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

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Yes, I Had A Stroke And I'm Only 20

Sometimes bad things happen to good people.
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Recently, I read an article on Cosmo that was written by a woman that had a stroke at the ripe old age of 23. For those of you who don't know, that really doesn't happen. Young people don't have strokes. Some do, but it's so incredibly uncommon that it rarely crosses most people's minds. Her piece was really moving, and I related a lot -- because I had a stroke at 20.

It started as a simple headache. I didn't think much of it because I get headaches pretty often. At the time, I worked for my parents, and I texted my mom to tell her that I'd be late to work because of the pain. I had never experienced a headache like that, but I figured it still wasn't something to worry about. I went about my normal routine, and it steadily got worse. It got to the point that I literally threw up from the pain. My mom told me to take some Tylenol, but I couldn't get to our kitchen. I figured that since I was already in the bathroom, I would just take a shower and hope that the hot steam would relax my muscles, and get rid of my headache. So I turned the water on in the shower, and I waited for it to get hot.

At this point, I was sweating. I've never been that warm in my life. My head was still killing me. I was sitting on the floor of the bathroom, trying to at least cope with the pain. Finally, I decided that I needed to go to the hospital. I picked up my phone to call 911, but I couldn't see the screen. I couldn't read anything. I laid down on the floor and tried to swipe from the lock screen to the emergency call screen, but I couldn't even manage that. My fine motor skills were completely gone. My fingers wouldn't cooperate, even though I knew what buttons needed to be pressed. Instead of swiping to the emergency call screen, I threw my phone across the room. "Okay," I thought, "Large muscle groups are working. Small ones are not".

I tried getting up. That also wasn't happening. I was so unstable that I couldn't stay standing. I tried turning off the running water of the shower, but couldn't move the faucet. Eventually, I gave up on trying to move anywhere. "At what point do I just give up and lie on the floor until someone finds me?" That was the point. I ended up lying on the floor for two hours until my dad came home and found me.

During that two hours, I couldn't hear. My ears were roaring, not even ringing. I tried to yell, but I couldn't form a sentence. I was simply stuck, and couldn't do anything about it. I still had no idea what was going on.

When the ambulance finally got there, they put me on a stretcher and loaded me into the back. "Are you afraid of needles or anything?" asked one EMT. "Terrified," I responded, and she started an IV without hesitation. To this day, I don't know if that word actually came out of my mouth, but I'm so glad she started the IV. She started pumping pain medicine, but it didn't seem to be doing anything.

We got to the hospital, and the doctors there were going to treat me for a migraine and send me on my merry way. This was obviously not a migraine. When I could finally speak again, they kept asking if I was prone to migraines. "I've never had a migraine in my whole life," I would say. "Do you do any drugs?" they would ask. "No," I repeated over and over. At this point, I was fading in and out of consciousness, probably from the pain or the pain medicine.

At one point, I heard the doctors say that they couldn't handle whatever was wrong with me at our local hospital and that I would need to be flown somewhere. They decided on University of Maryland in Baltimore. My parents asked if I wanted them to wait with me or start driving, so I had them leave.

The helicopter arrived soon after, and I was loaded into it. 45 minutes later, I was in Baltimore. That was the last thing I remember. The next thing I remember was being in the hospital two weeks later. I had a drain in my head, a central port, and an IV. I honestly didn't know what had happened to me.

As it turns out, I was born with a blood vessel malformation called an AVM. Blood vessels and arteries are supposed to pass blood to one another smoothly, and mine simply weren't. I basically had a knot of blood vessels in my brain that had swelled and almost burst. There was fluid in my brain that wouldn't drain, which was why my head still hurt so bad. The doctors couldn't see through the blood and fluid to operate, so they were simply monitoring me at that point.

When they could finally see, they went in to embolize my aneurysm and try to kill the AVM. After a successful procedure, my headache was finally starting to subside. It had gone from a 10 on the pain scale (which I don't remember), to a 6 (which was when I had started to be conscious), and then down to a 2.

I went to rehab after I was discharged from the hospital, I went to rehab. There, I learned simple things like how to walk and balance, and we tested my fine motor skills to make sure that I could still play the flute. Rehab was both physically and emotionally difficult. I was constantly exhausted.

I still have a few lingering issues from the whole ordeal. I have a tremor in one hand, and I'm mostly deaf in one ear. I still get headaches sometimes, but that's just my brain getting used to regular blood flow. I sleep a lot and slur my words as I get tired. While I still have a few deficits, I'm lucky to even be alive.

Cover Image Credit: Neve McClymont

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Instead Of Helping Me, My Psychologist Made Me Feel Crazy

I am still afraid to seek professional help.

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Back in middle school, I went through an abusive relationship. It affected me, even to this day. I became depressed, I hated myself and contemplated suicide, both during and after the relationship. Though I knew I could never follow through with ending my life, the thought of dying seemed like an easier choice than living broken and betrayed. I was only 13, I should not have been thinking like that. I should not have had to go through something like that, but I did. It cannot be changed now.

Eventually, my parents found out through an email about me wanting to die. Thankfully, they signed me up to see a psychologist, let me talk to someone who was a professional and able to help me through those dark times, at least I thought that was their job.

When I first met my psychologist, I liked them. They were calming and talked to me like a human being, not like a patient. They helped me to open up a little bit and put some of my feelings into words. During my time with them, I left my abusive relationship and we worked towards healing me emotionally. I knew I could not be "cured" of depression, but they well helping me to learn how to better manage it.

During one visit, I mentioned something about how the sun coming in from the window behind them looked cool. Suddenly, they changed, claiming that I am able to see auras and that not all of the emotions I feel are my own. They began asking if I have ever noticed colors around people or felt other's emotions or their guilt. They started going over what different color auras people could have and what they mean.

The precious hour meant to help me became into what felt like psychic training. I still felt broken inside, but they were making me feel as if the feelings I felt were mine but possibly my abuser or just the person sitting next to me in class. I felt betrayed by the one person whose whole job was to help me.

After a few more sessions, I told my mom that I thought I was better and no longer needed to see a psychologist. It was a lie, but I could not keep seeing them, and feeling as if I was crazy. I have not really sought out professional help since then. I know that was a rare case and there are thousands of wonderful psychologist and psychiatrist that excel at their job. I am just afraid that I will be made to feel like that once again.

One day, I may seek professional help again, but my fear will always be there. I trusted them, and that trust was broken. I just hope that trust can be repaired again.

IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW ARE STRUGGLING WITH SUICIDAL THOUGHTS AND/OR TENDENCIES, REACH OUT IMMEDIATELY. NO ONE SHOULD GO THROUGH THIS ALONE. SUICIDE IS SERIOUS.

National Suicide Hotline: 1 (800) 273-8255 - available 24/7

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