This Sunday Lexi Bagheri, our last lay-preacher of the summer season, is sharing her meditation on the prevalence of depression and suicide in our culture. She will also offer suggestions of ways we can look for signs to help people who are struggling.
De-stigmatizing mental illness has always been one of my overarching missions throughout my career as a UU minister. UUCSC’s Sailors of Sadness group has been meeting every month since April. It’s an hour of sharing what it’s like to navigate depression, checking in about our lives in a caring, non-judgmental environment, sharing tips, and giving encouragement. Mostly it’s about listening and hearing our own stories in others’ thoughts and experiences, not dissimilar to a 12 step group, but more akin to an affinity or small group ministry in which we all minister to one another with our presence.
While running this group, as well as the one I started in 2014 at my prior post, I have learned that depression is not always depressing. Through the years, I’ve heard it said at SOS meetings that while depression can be harrowing, it can also make you more sensitive, more observant of the world, even more funny and smart. We often find a way to laugh at ourselves. When we are seen and acknowledged as we really are, there is wisdom and there is healing that can happen through navigating our day-to-day emotional landscapes, perhaps doing it imperfectly, occasionally terribly, and sometimes with a feeling of accomplishment. The swells of the sea, they go up and down! But always they change.
Together, we can help each other stay afloat. Our next meeting is Thursday, September 6, 7 – 8:30 PM in the Big Room. Please RSVP if you’d like to join us by sending me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The only recommendation is that you have been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, or another mental health condition at some point by a medical doctor. We are not a support group for situational depression as much as a camaraderie group for those who identify as a “depressive” and navigate it as a part of who we are, throughout our lives.