Hey, guys. Lani here. I wanted to let you know why we’re taking Thanksgiving week off, even though we said there would be podcasts. I am sorry for the disappointment, but I have to tell you…

I just couldn’t do it.

We’ve been working really hard here at StoryWonk for a really long time, but things have been a bit more difficult lately. Mostly for me.

I’ve been really depressed, y’all. Like, clinically.

The thing with me is that I’m not naturally prone to depression. I’m naturally cheerful and positive. I have a good friend who has named the bright-sidey blah-blah I tend to spout Chipperish. I love her dearly. She’s not bright-sidey. She tolerates me.

Some people have a chemical imbalance that puts them into a depression; for me, it’s denial. If something sad or hurtful happens to me, man, I bury it in a shallow grave and put on a smile. But eventually, it begins to stink. So I spray some Febreze and put on another smile. Later, rinse, repeat until I seriously lose my freaking mind.

So, that’s what’s been happening with me for the better part of a year. I have a mother with Narcissistic Personality Disorder – some of you may remember me mentioning on occasion during a podcast. NPD is diagnosed not in the person who has it, but through the damage done to the people surrounding that person. I also, through a masterful stroke of cosmic bad luck, got a brother who is maybe a sociopath? I don’t know. He’s not a murderer or anything, but he lies and he’s cruel and manipulative and sometimes violent, although he hasn’t been violent with me personally since I was a teenager. I’m not sure that’s an exoneration.

Bottom line is, I let them both into my life again last fall, and then when they were both predictably hurtful and cruel, I put on a smile, picked up my shovel and reached for the Febreze. Then as other things happened, some small, some bigger, I buried them alongside and well… it all dredged up for me last night.

I share this with you not because I think my story is representative of some universal experience of depression–newsflash, sweetknees, there’s no such animal–but because no one talks about it. No one ever wants to admit it. We all smile and pretend it’s not there and post our Belize vacations to Facebook, but we don’t talk about depression, despite the fact that most of us will fall into it at one point or another in our lives. So I’m talking. I was depressed. Probably still am, a little. But honestly, I’m so lucky. (Beware: Chipperish ahead.) For me, when I recognize that I’m depressed–usually because I’m sleeping 10+ hours a night and am still exhausted, while thinking increasingly insane and hurtful thoughts about myself–I hit on what’s really bothering me and acknowledge it, and the depression typically slinks away… until I inevitably deny something hurtful again because I am nothing if not a creature of habit.

But that’s why I’m lucky, because it’s not a chemical thing for me. At least, I don’t think so. As soon as I recognize it and cry for twelve to fifteen hours, it slips away, like a malevolent ghost after some sage-burning.

Most people who have depression aren’t as lucky as I am. Most people will have it descend without warning, for no reason at all, mess with their lives, and no amount of honest reflection will make it go away. And to those people I just want to say, it’s okay and it’s not your fault and it doesn’t make you a bad or weak person and no matter what your situation, there is someone out there who can help you. Please let them. In the meantime, I send you hugs. Try to remember that voice in your head is not telling you the truth. You are beautiful and loved and worthy. Please try to remember that.

So, I’m shouting my depression because I have nothing to be ashamed of, and in this week dedicated to gratitude, I’m grateful it’s passing, and that for me, the process that makes it pass is relatively simple, if difficult. I cried for twelve to fifteen hours and I’m feeling better, but I am not equipped to podcast this week. I hope you understand. I’m gonna snuggle my Scotsman and drink wine and take some time to reflect. We’ll be back on Monday with this week’s slate of podcasts, and I’m really sorry if it’s a disappointment. I hope from here on out things will get more stable. I’ll do everything I can, and I’m hiding my sadness-burying shovel. Damn thing never has done me a bit of good.

With love for a wonderful holiday,