This afternoon, I mentioned that I work in mental health. After that, everybody seemed to clam up. I know it might not involve what I said, but I have been scared all afternoon that it did. During an hour long drive home, I thought of a million things I wanted to say to you all, but I finished getting my kids off to bed, and I'm really tired right now, so I'll keep it short. First of all, I wanted to assure you that I am not here doing some kind of study or anything. I am also not here thinking that as a clinician I'm going to fix everything for everybody here. I can't. I'm just trying to get fixed myself. I am a clinical nurse specialist. Some of my education involved learning therapy, but I have almost never done that work in all the time I have practiced. I prescribe medications. But being a professional in mental health does not make you immune to mental illness, any more than being an oncologist makes you immune to cancer. In fact, maybe it was the fact that I have suffered morbid depression on and off for my whole life that made me want to get into mental health. The times that I was not depressed, when I felt normal - I thought it would be wonderful to be able to help other people feel the way I felt during those times. Not ecstatic, not beautiful...just like for a while, there was nothing wrong with me. I was OK. I wanted to be able to help other people feel like that. Sometimes I do. But I cannot make myself feel like that. I have suffered with being suicidal since I was seven years old. And getting the master's degree that made me an advance practice nurse did not change that. And Wellbutrin did not change that, and Lamictal did not change that, and Celexa has not changed that yet. I still have frequent times that I want my life to end. When I can't see things ever getting better, even when my schooling in therapy tells me that those thoughts are part of the illness of depression, and are never reality based, and always resolve when depression is stabilized. When I am depressed, my heart just doesn't hear that. That is why I can't give myself therapy. I need a therapist to talk to me, tell me things I won't hear from my own brain. Listen, I can understand if somebody feels distrustful that I came in here as a suicidal person and later revealed that I am a mental health professional. Believe me, you can be both. But I can understand if you maybe feel like I am something of an outsider. If you are OK with me being here, I'll offer as much support as I can. If there are times when someone has actual clinical questions, I'll help if I can. The rest of the time, I just want to be a friend. I'm just looking to be a group of friends who all struggle with being suicidal, and who all support each other. But if anyone feels like you cannot really open up and share because I'm here, I will leave. I need help, but I don't want to get help at the expense of everybody else here. Please let me know how you feel.