Hey 'fam,

Happy SUMMER time!  WE MADE IT!  We got through winter and paleness, and expensive sweater and coat season, to now enjoying some warm weather, ball games, and hopefully vacations!  While we are not out of school- we meaning, adults- I hope everyone can appreciate and enjoy this time of year.

And for most of us we do, but for some us, enjoying summer or enjoying anything can be a challenge.

Summer is no doubt my favorite season.  But sometimes the most fond memories of my life, bring me this intense sadness- a feeling of nostalgia can often lead to a sense of loss.  A loss of childhood, innocence, better times and days before working 3 jobs just to break even with bills.  A time when there was romance and laughing with your very best friend that is no longer. 

As many of you know, one of my favorite idols passed away recently, Chris Cornell.  He was the front man of Soundgarden, among others, and one of the founders of the grunge movement which shaped and helped create alternative music as we know today.  Without boring you with why musically he was so profound, he suffered from depression and died by hanging himself after a show. It was a surprise to his family and fans, and to me, it hit awfully close to home, not because of the music, but because I suffer from clinical depression.

Depression is not a stranger to me and now I am learning it isn't to many family and friends and members in cityfam, even.  Depression can be normal in small doses when situational- life happens and sometimes we suffer for a while when someone passes away, we lose our jobs, we get sick or know someone sick, etc., but sometimes depression occurs with people who cannot help feeling terrible when things aren't so terrible, and then you feel TERRIBLE for feeling terrible for things that are not terrible- you follow?

When Chris Cornell died, I was taken back to a time- not so long ago, where I felt there was no way out.  I didn't try to hurt myself, but I wished it many times.  Nothing felt like it would get better, nothing anyone said did.  Prayer didn't work, meds didn't work.  No one could understand me, and complaining or being sad was making other's sad, angry or helpless.  I felt like I just wanted to be in a bubble until things were better again or just disappear and stop burdening my friends and family and job.  I was barely functioning- brushing my teeth was huge TASK for me, as was showing up for work and not getting fired for not billing very much.

The happy ending is: I got better and I recovered, but I still get those blues as I do when this time of year happens. The monsters in my head tell me I once had a better life, and those memories are just memories and it can sometimes stop me in my tracks when I hear the Lumineers with the windows down, and I start crying uncontrollably.  One thought leads to another bad thought and without active and positive reassurance and lots of self care mechanisms, it can become the start of a very gloomy road to another bout of depression.

IT DOES FADE, as it always does, but I guess my point in this month's blog is, there are people out there who can relate and I do not want you to feel bad for feeling sad for "no reason". You legit are not ALONE.  Ever. I hated when people said it gets better- but for real, it REALLY DOES and I am one of the most stubborn people haha! If I say something works- please know it is because I lived it, not simply told so.

  I truly believe, without knowing the guy, Chris Cornell prob could relate because he had it "all"- fame, money, a family, and he probably felt incredible guilt for feeling the way he did with all that he did have.  He wasn't selfish for what he did, he just didn't get the proper help which is hard with depression.  Sometimes we don't really know how bad someone is until it is too late.

So next time you want to roll your eyes when someone is feeling sad "for no good reason", try giving them a hug or a smile.  Sometimes just saying you are there for someone in a genuine way, can make all the difference.  I know Cornell is a celebrity but how many of you know someone who committed or attempted suicide?  I am not even sure I want to know the answer, but I would guess many of you, or most of you can name someone.

Empathy is an amazing human emotion- one I try to work on daily, and one that I seek in others.   You might not really understand depression, but I am sure you understand pain, so I suggest an empathic heart.  Whether pain from a broken heart or a broken bone, both can be equally as painful.  If someone calls me a name, it generally doesn't bother me, but to someone else it might shatter their self image.

We are a family- good and bad and broken times- so be good to one another ya hear?

This summer, make this a #cityfamsummer, and I implore you to spread compassion.  Empathy.  Make really fun plans, and invite all of your friends and family.  Make memories- really good and unforgettable ones.

I love you kids <3

Your summatime sass & sometimes pain in the ass,

Your Marketing Director,

Cara D.