A few thoughts about depression and my tribute to Jill Janus

If you ever felt that there is no hope, and that there is no light in your life, please believe me there is. Depression is a hard topic to talk about. It’s an even harder thing to live through. I’ve lived with depression for more than two decades. During my struggles, I learned somehow to get by, without giving up.

I am not a doctor, I just write and share from time to time my personal experiences and views on this blog. It is up to you if you are going to take me seriously or not. I have been through a lot in my life. One of my biggest struggles was and it will always be my depressive state of mind. The main problem with depression is that it distorts your reality. Not only that the things you normally enjoy seem less fun, but you have a hard time seeing the good aspects of yourself in general.

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Depression is harming your motivation. You have to force yourself to get involved in anything that could bring some change into your every day routine. Getting involved is a very important step.

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A lot of people feel unhappy because there is nothing in their life that excites them, so it’s important to look for it everywhere. Join a local sports league, take up crochet class, try or cook food you’ve never had before, go to the gym, take a cooking workshop, take a small trip over the weekend, or just a picnic. Pick up anything you like and go for it. Just find something positive to occupy your mind. At the time when I had suicidal thoughts during my marriage struggles I was finding my peace of mind in my garden. My garden was a place to escape from my reality. Planting and taking care of my plants and my dogs was able to bring me some kind of joy and fulfillment in my life. My garden was my paradise, when everything else around me seemed so cruel and violent. It helped me a lot. So there is always something nice that you can do. Just do it, whatever pleases you at the moment. But stay away from drugs and alcohol. This is not a solution, it is just a fake illusion, and it will only make it worse. Keep it real and positive.

Look at me, I am falling down and rising up my whole life. But every time I fall, some how I pick up my pieces and I’m moving on. That’s life. Don’t you ever give up. If you feel that you are not able to do it yourself, then ask for help and support. Reach out and find somebody that will listen to you, give you advice, or even force you out of the house. No matter how alone you think you are, you’re not.

Depression is a struggle that can keep you down more than anything, but it doesn’t have to stay like that. Get professional help, and keep in mind that checking on your mental health should be just as essential as checking in on your physical health.

I’m writing all of these because I was so sad when I found out about the suicide of one great heavy metal vocalist, Jill Janus. I’m writing this in order to raise awareness regarding depression. Ignoring the signs of depression could easily lead us into the deeper psychological problems or to serious mental illness or even to our end.

Jill Janus was the front woman for the California heavy metal band Huntress. She passed away on Tuesday, August 14. After a longtime suffer of mental illness, she took her own life outside of Portland, Oregon. Jill Janus spoke publicly about these challenges in hope of guiding others to address and overcome their mental illness, unfortunately she couldn’t overcome her own struggles. I have seen a few of her interviews and she seemed perfectly cool and normal to me.

She has been open over the years about her battles, not only with mental illness, in the form of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, dissociative identity disorder and alcoholism, but also physical illness in the form of cancer.

Jill Janus was eventually diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, according to her interview for Psychology Today: “I’ve always seen and heard things others couldn’t. Many visions or dreams would manifest into reality, which my family and friends described as my ”psychic ability”. This caused more drama at school, being called a ”freak” and getting beaten up. When I was 17, the visions and encounters with ”other-worldly creatures” was almost a daily occurrence.”

Her problems started when she was still a child , but she didn’t visit a psychiatrist until she was 20. So, if she had the right treatment from the very beginning when their problems occurred, maybe she would had never come to this point.

In a Revolver interview, Janus described how the schizoaffective disorder evolved into full schizophrenia, which affected her in her 20s and continued until her death. She said: ”I was suicidal constantly. I was very suicidal early on in my life. Then in my mid-20s, it shifted to full-blown mania, where I can’t really remember much of my 20s. I can’t remember anybody from high school, either. I lost my long-term memory and can’t remember names, faces, or even places.”

I was never a big fan of her band and their music, but I always admired her beauty and her great vocal abilities. From all their songs the one I liked the most is the song ,,Eight of swords” from the homonymous album. She said she got the idea for that album by playing tarot cards. The first card that came out was an ,,Eight of swords” card.

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In the tarot card interpretation an Eight of Swords card reflects that you feel trapped by your own thoughts and perspectives. There are choices available but first you must find the right mindset to know which option to choose. This means releasing the bindings and the blindfold to see the situation from a different perspectives. There may also be too many ideas running through your head, thus it is best to wait until you feel more secure and certain about a situation before making important decisions and taking action.

The Eight of Swords card shows a woman tied up, blindfolded, and surrounded by swords that act as a kind of prison or enclosure. It appears that there is no possibility of escape. She appears isolated and alone as she stands in the midst of a barren, watery wasteland far from the town in the distance. The sky is grey and cloudy, indicating despair and a lack of hope. The woman’s feet do not touch the water, indicating that the feeling of being restricted in the Eight of Swords is based on an intellectual assessment of the situation and not an emotional one. There is a path cleared before her, so there is actually a way out of this situation but the blindfolds prevent the woman from seeing her way out.

The ”Eight of Swords” portrays a dilemma whereby you are faced with the difficulty of a painful decision and you are at an impasse, uncertain of which way to go. In the Jill Janus case the card was so symbolic, regarding her life and her own struggles in general. Therefore she named her album this way. I am so sorry that she couldn’t escape and deal with her situation anymore. She was a very talented and gifted woman, she had so much more to show and give to the world. Not only to the music scene through her career but also as a loving and beautiful human being. Jill Janus, was one of metal’s most powerful female voices and a gorgeous woman in so many ways.

I’m so sad that she was not able to take back her power and to realize that she did had different options. Unfortunately she couldn’t remove her own blindfold and see things from a different point. One is certain, she did tried, very hard and she did have so many people around her who loved her very much. Please understand, that there is always an option available. There is an answer to every problem. For example in my case her song ”Eight of Swords” had a great impact on me, while I was coping with my own depression. It gave me the power and strength, there is always a hope to escape out of my own prison of isolation and loneliness.

Even though a lot of you were not familiar with this kind of music, and those song lyrics seems weird to you, if you concentrate little bit on the lyrics and the music video, you will realize that there is a deep meaning in all of this. It lies in hope and endurance. I hope their message through this song will be clear and understandable for you, especially now knowing the Jill Janus story. At some point she says in the song ”The fear keeps me enslaved”. Don’t you ever let any fear to keep you enslaved. Just breath and live your life. It can be beautiful, just give a shot. Don’t be afraid to start over. Starting over will give you a chance to build something better. Don’t be afraid of changes, you might lose something good, but you also might gain something even better. Do your best to never get to the point that Jill Janus did. Life is beautiful with all its complexities. Live it and enjoy it every minute with all your heart.

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R.I.P. dear Jill Janus. I’m so sad you are not with us any more. You won’t be forgotten.

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