Community of the Lonely

Today’s guest post is brought to you by Alise Wright. She’s guest-posted her before, writing about the “Blank Page, Blinking Cursor.” Today she’s here to tell us about a book project for which she is gathering stories.

Lonely. Angry. On hold. Useless. Weighted down.

These are some of the words that people have shared about their experiences with depression.

For me, depression is a prison. It traps my body, keeping me from moving. It traps my thoughts, keeping me from creating. It traps my soul, keeping me from connecting. The real me gets locked away and instead I’m this lethargic, boring, detached person.

Last fall, I could feel myself sliding into that depressed spot. Despite everything in my life being pretty good, I was having a difficult time finding the ability to enjoy it. I could feel myself withdrawing from friends and that even when I’d had a good time with them, I wasn’t able to be fully present and would leave feeling empty. It was an unpleasant time.

So I did what I know I need to do when I feel depression closing in. I told someone. I talked to my husband about it. And I shared what I was going through on my blog. It was a poorly written, whiney post that I dashed off just to get it out there.

And it resonated with people.

Even though I felt alone in my struggle with depression, I was not alone. There were others going through the same thing. And by sharing even a little snippet of my story, it reminded others that they didn’t have to go through depression thinking they were alone either.

What emerged was something beautiful. An opportunity for others to share their own stories. A safe place where people could read and share and encourage one another with their words.

In the midst of something that can be extremely isolating, we found community.

But this community is incomplete. We need your voice as well.

I’m partnering with Civitas Press to gather these stories about depression into a book. If you have a story about depression, we would love to invite you to share it.

I know it’s hard. Depression has a stigma attached to it that can make it difficult to share honestly about your struggles. However, I believe that one of the best ways we can break the shame associated with depression is through the telling of our story. I have found that it not only helps others, but it helps me as well.

If you are interested in participating in the Not Alone book project, please head over to the Civitas website and download the project document. We are accepting submissions through May 24, so there is still time for you to add your voice to the collective.

No matter how it feels, you are not alone.

13 Replies to “Community of the Lonely”

  1. Alise, thanks for sharing. . . really. I struggle with this as well.

    I have written a piece about depression – but it’s my feelings about my dad’s illness. Would you be interested in seeing something like that?

    Shawn, thanks for bringing such great ideas and people together.

    1. Sure thing. I haven’t received any submissions in that line yet, so I’m not 100% sure we’ll be able to use it, but several people have mentioned it and if we get a few, I wouldn’t be at all opposed to a segment of the book devoted to people on the outside.


  2. “I believe that one of the best ways we can break the shame associated with depression is through the telling of our story.”

    SUCH a fantastic idea.

    1. I’d add ‘shame’ and ‘denial’, although there’s the even larger issue of thinking that everyone feels ‘this way’.

    2. Thanks Knox! I’m so glad that Jonathan Brink thought it was worth pursuing as a book. I’m pretty much constantly amazed by the stories that people have shared. Seeing people share stuff that’s so intimate is something I take really seriously and I’m just so blessed at the ways that people have come forward.

  3. I’m so excited about this Alise. I know this is going to be a HUGE encouragement for a lot of people. It’s mind-blowing how many people there are out there that feel completely alone.

    I’m cheering on the sidelines!

    1. Those cheers mean a ton my friend! The support from those not directly connected to the project just makes me all weepy, but in a good way.

  4. I’m so grateful to be a part of this project. The response I had just from my post on Alise’s blog was enough to tell me it was worth sharing the darkness of my own depression.

    I don’t know that there’s a greater human gift than to be “gotten.” I am so hopeful that this book will be that kind of gift to many.

    1. “I don’t know that there’s a great human gift than to be ‘gotten.’ Love that. It’s SO true. And such a blessing when it happens. :)

  5. It is so true that feeling less alone helps. I would read the PostSecret blog every Saturday night for some solidarity. This is such a needed thing. Thanks.

  6. I get it. After spending about 14 years in a pit of quicksand, I was diagnosed 2 years ago. I didn’t know what was wrong and why I was the way I was!

    I’m excited about this project! I think there’s so much misunderstanding about depression, especially in the church, like “There’s no reason for Christian’s to be depressed” and “You have Christ in your heart, why aren’t you happy?” It’s SO much more than that. And it goes so much deeper, especially when it is a chemical thing. I could go on. But I shall stop now. ;) Thanks for the post and for the opportunity!

Comments are closed.