Look at this peaceful pretty sunset…it’s as if the world doesn’t know that for some of us it’s always getting dark.
As of right now 1,138 people have taken my survey. Of that number 549 people have completed it according to Survey Monkey’s definition of “complete”. But the majority of the completed ones were complete enough to be very useful for my purposes.
So what is the purpose of this very long and personal survey about depression and suicide? You can read the project manifesto right here:
Too lazy to read all that? I’m writing a book about living with serious depression that is meant to help people like me feel less alone by putting together in one book the voices of many people who suffer from serious depression as I can fit in it. Want to know more? Click the link. It’s all there.
Well, I can’t speak for everyone like me, but the survey will allow me to share the voices of hundreds of people like me. Reading the surveys, for me, is both heartbreaking and uplifting. I’ve only read about 75 of the responses so far but I’ve already had many of my own feelings supported by others and I’ve learned some new things.
One thing I can share with all of you people who don’t live with serious depression:
WE HATE IT WHEN YOU TELL US TO “THINK POSITIVELY”
Fuck you guys who say that. If you’ve ever said that to someone who told you they are depressed – you’re grounded! Next time you have the urge to tell someone that, duct-tape your mouth shut.
WE HATE IT WHEN YOU TELL US “OTHER PEOPLE HAVE IT WORSE THAN YOU”
That’s a really nice way to say “your pain doesn’t matter”. Seriously, FUCK YOU.
WE HATE IT WHEN YOU TELL US HOW WE CAN “FIX” OURSELVES.
If you haven’t ever lived with serious chronic depression, shut up. You aren’t qualified to give advice to those of us who do. Just stop it with the “just get more exercise” or “take Vitamin D” or “try yoga”.
This survey was hard for a lot of people to fill out. Overwhelming, triggering, or just too long. I totally understand – and to all of you who felt this way and couldn’t finish it – I truly appreciate that you tried! I know it was asking a lot of you.
Part of what made this survey difficult, I believe, is that it’s not geared towards gathering scientific data. The purpose is to gather very personal thoughts, experiences, and struggles that are, at the best of times, difficult for many of us to discuss openly. For some people it is literally unsafe to do so.
For those of you who finished filling it out and were able to answer all the questions – I deeply appreciate your input and the bravery it takes to speak up.
For those of you who don’t have serious depression but helped by sharing the link to this survey and giving my project shout-outs – thank you so much! Your efforts have helped me gather so much good information to work with.
Normally when I embark on a project I think is really cool or could be great but needs other people’s input – it falls flat and I end up walking away from it due to low response/interest. I worried that it would be the same this time. As soon as I hit 300 completed surveys and had read about 20 of the responses I got temporarily overwhelmed. Reading the responses gave me a huge sense of responsibility to the respondents to do proper justice to this project. Now that so many people have trusted me with some of the most painful experiences of their lives – there’s no going back, there’s no ditching of this project.
I am filled with a sense of gravity and accountability.
I am also feeling seriously humbled.
Here’s what happens next:
I will print out all the completed surveys and read every single one of them.
As I read I will be compiling data in some spreadsheets where appropriate (like counting how many people listed “get enough sleep” as one of the most important ways they manage their depression).
I will then make an outline for the book: chapters, topics, etc.
Then I will write introductions to each chapter to introduce the information and quotes from the surveys.
Edit the fuck out of it. Edit it some more.
Then I have to decide if I want to print this myself or shop it to an agent. I have time to decide that. Distribution is more important than money with this project, so seeking a publisher might be best.
I plan to have the editing manuscript ready for shopping or publishing by the end of this coming summer.