Keep your fists up.

Trigger Warning: This blog post deals with suicide and depression in a very open manner. Mental illness is very common among the derby community and by talking about it, we hope to raise awareness while removing the stigma. We encourage all leagues to create a safe space for those with a diagnosis and hope that by sharing this post we can start a dialogue about how we can help one another.


Dr: Do you have a plan?

Me: Yes.

Dr: Mr. Johnson, you….

Me: You tell me to make lists when I panic. Lists become chores, chores become tasks, tasks become a plan. Yes, I have a plan.

I am not writing this for sympathy, or help or for concern. I’m writing this for those struggling. Or for those that love the struggling. For those lost and losing. This is very difficult.

This is going to get very personal and very real. My apologizes to anyone hurt or offended by this.

5 years ago

**Phone vibrates**

NL: I love you and I’m worried about you.

I took the serrated edge of my knife away from my arm. I let my cat that was crying at my bedroom door in and we went to bed on a pile of dirty laundry on the floor.

A well-timed text saved my life. Thanks Lith.

I woke up the next morning more than 5 years ago with my eyes matted and a pounding headache. I missed work that day.

Depression is painful. Emotionally, Mentally, and Physically. Depression is isolation.

I told myself that morning that I won’t stop my fight. I laid there and told myself over and over that I can’t be the only one going through this…feeling this way.

I wasn’t. I’m not. Neither are you.

I’m not the same person I was then, but he still exists and will always be a part of me.

I’ve had several counselors and been through countless psychiatric evaluations. Diagnosis: panic attack disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and severe depression.

Just like addiction there is no cure. Just a different level of recovery. There is a high likelihood of relapse. Also like addiction, most of the people suffering from depression don’t realize they are in danger until it is too late.

For those who know someone battling demons – be there for them. Listen. Be available. Know that if they lose their fight it’s not your fault. Know that for those suffering there are things worse than death.

Depression isn’t weakness. Fighting it takes a considerable amount of strength.

This is a fight. A dirty, unfair fight against an opponent that doesn’t care about the outcome. Depression has nothing to lose. Sometimes it feels like the fight is over. It’s not. It never is.

For those of you who are fighting. Keep the fists up. Never put them down. NEVER.

For those in their corner, in my corner  – Thank you. There is no way to ever express gratitude for the help and support you’ve given and continue to give us.

I’ve been involved in roller derby for more than 6 years.  Between coaching, skating, watching, attending clinics, traveling… etc – The more people I’ve met, the more I’ve interacted with, the more it reinforces the quality of this community. We are a microcosm like any other. We help one another and share in each other’s struggles. Thank you roller derby. You have been instrumental in helping me stay on the sunny side of the soil.

Ghost Faced Thriller #36

PS. To all SIRG and BHG members: I’m here for you. Reach out.  (DPR edit: I’m here for you too, always.)

If you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out to a team member or to the resources below.  

Suicide prevention lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK

Textline: Text “go” or “hi” to 741 741

Posted on November 10, 2015 .