Looking back, I would say that the first time I became depressed was when I entered fourth grade. That year, my class was divided into two groups, and I found myself separated from all my previous year’s playmates. I didn’t bounce back: that year started my long, mostly self-imposed exile at school. At recess, I paced the perimeter of the playground, and as I moved up through the grades, I effectively rendered myself invisible. The occasional thoughtless comment that came my way from some popular kid became my excuse for further isolation. Once in seventh grade I went to see the school counselor, and she showed me a poster on her wall. In the poster, a group of cartoon hippos were piling into a small boat, threatening to swamp it. The caption read, “More is not always better.” That message stayed with me, in the background, but it was many years before I really understood it or was able to assimilate it into my worldview.
Have you ever felt broken? What are some possible scenarios which may make a person feel broken? Do you think it could be a frightening health diagnosis? Could it be losing one’s job or home? What about coping with the loss of a loved one? Could it be the loss of a relationship or a business? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. How many people do you know seem to lead a perfect life? There are quite few, if any, who have never had a factor which could potentially cause one to feel broken. It is part of being human.
The tipping point which threatened to shatter my life was our son’s pancreatic cancer diagnosis. All I could think of was the horrifically short life expectancies of people who have received this diagnosis. He had already experienced two years of symptoms prior to this. Our son was only thirty-one years old when he was diagnosed. It can be devastating to lose a family member, particularly from the younger generation. Initially, I lost my desire to eat and my ability to sleep. Pounds as well as hair began to break away from my body.
Founded in 2014 by Dr. Phoebe Chi, PhoebeMD: Health + Inspiration is a health information and literary arts website that aims to inspire, empower, and inform through a curated mix of essential health information, uplifting stories, and original poetry.