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The Well - Courageously Navigating Depression

We recently received a letter from a Veteran Client who wishes to remain anonymous. They

asked that we share it with our audience. It is in its entirety below:

It took me a long time to identify my depression and where much of it stems from. It can be hard to recognize a perceived weakness in oneself, let alone admit to others that you are afflicted by it. While I work my way through the VA claims process and patiently await next steps, the time spent discussing trauma has allowed depression to live at the surface again.

I have given it a great deal of thought and found a metaphor that is allowing me to better navigate the down times. I am hopeful that by sharing my story I might be able to help at least one other person who may be suffering from depression or sadness to feel less alone. To know that asking for help is okay. To never give up.

The Well
Imagine living on a lovely piece of land. You have a beautiful home filled with warmth, love, and life. Outside, rolling hills in the distance, trees on your land, and a well in the yard. The well is made of stone. It sits about four feet atop the land with a wide ledge along the rim. Inside, it is deep, dark, with cold water and jagged rocks at the bottom.
When you live in the house, life is fine. You may look upon the well, you know it is there, but you have no need to interact with it.
There could be times, though, that you find yourself overwhelmingly drawn to the well. As you peer inside, your feelings turn to sadness and despair. If you teeter along the edge, you could lose your footing and fall to its depths. It’s a dangerous place to be, and yet you cannot pull yourself away.
If you fall in, you could fall a very long way indeed if you cannot catch yourself in time. The way down is painful and tormenting. Once inside the cavernous hole, discerning a way back to the surface can feel impossible.

Sometimes, you can hear the voice of your loved one calling to you from the top of the well. Sometimes, you can crane your head up and just barely see an opening with the faintest hint of light. But how will you ever get there. The climb is long, and without the right tools, can feel virtually impossible.
Sometimes you may find that you are not able to move back into your cozy home right away. You may be sleeping along the ledge of the well. Maybe it's not that bad, maybe you have a tent in the yard somewhere between your home and the well, just for now.
I’m sure you can see now that the well is Depression. After spending a lifetime in and out of the well, you can start to recognize what you’re doing and what you may need to do to avoid that cold darkness of that place.
When I can feel myself “walking to the well”, I know that it’s time to start protecting myself. I may need a personal day from work. I may need to put friends and family on hold momentarily. I may need to withdraw from my “normal” activities and allow myself a reprieve. I’m not a bad person for this. I’m not flawed for this. My mental health is as important as my physical health, and I am okay to admit that.
I have realized that as a Veteran it is important for me to recognize the traumas that have caused me to suffer from ptsd and depression. It is also important for me to have my suffering validated by the military and the role my time played there. I didn’t think I was “entitled” to a Veterans Disability Claim because of how long I’ve been out of the Army. I’ve filed my claim with some great help from UVBA and I realized that it’s not an "entitlement" I’m seeking, just my deserved Veterans benefits. -Anonymous

If you are needing help filing your VA Disability Claim or getting a deserved Increase, call United Veteran Benefits Agency at 1-888-482-2524 or schedule online at

If you need immediate assistance call or text the

Suicide and Crisis Hotline at 988 Help is available. Speak with someone today.


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