OPEN UP ON DEPRESSION


 
 
 
 
 
 

See, some people might fear girls not liking them back. Some people might fear sharks. Some people might fear death. But for me, for a large part of my life, I feared myself. I feared my truth, I feared my honesty, I feared my vulnerability, and that fear made me feel like I was forced into a corner, like I was forced into a corner and there was only one way out, and so I thought about that way every single day. I thought about it every single day, and if I’m being totally honest, standing here I’ve thought about it again since, because that’s the sickness, that’s the struggle, that’s depression, and depression isn’t chicken pox. You don’t beat it once and it’s gone forever. It’s something you live with. It’s something you live in. It’s the roommate you can’t kick out. It’s the voice you can’t ignore. It’s the feelings you can’t seem to escape, the scariest part is that after a while, you become numb to it. It becomes normal for you, and what you really fear the most isn’t the suffering inside of you. It’s the stigma inside of others, it’s the shame, it’s the embarrassment, it’s the disapproving look on a friend’s face, it’s the whispers in the hallway that you’re weak, it’s the comments that you’re crazy. That’s what keeps you from getting help. That’s what makes you hold it in and hide it. It’s the stigma. So you hold it in and you hide it, and you hold it in and you hide it, and even though it’s keeping you in bed every day and it’s making your life feel empty no matter how much you try and fill it, you hide it, because the stigma in our society around depression is very real. It’s very real, and if you think that it isn’t, ask yourself this: Would you rather make your next Facebook status say you’re having a tough time getting out of bed because you hurt your back or you’re having a tough time getting out of bed every morning because you’re depressed?

That’s the stigma, because unfortunately, we live in a world where if you break your arm, everyone runs over to sign your cast, but if you tell people you’re depressed, everyone runs the other way. That’s the stigma. We are so, so, so accepting of any body part breaking down other than our brains. And that’s ignorance. That’s pure ignorance, and that ignorance has created a world that doesn’t understand depression, that doesn’t understand mental health.

And that’s ironic to me, because depression is one of the best documented problems we have in the world, yet it’s one of the least discussed. We just push it aside and put it in a corner and pretend it’s not there and hope it’ll fix itself.

 
 
 

Well, it is there. It is there, and you know what? It’s okay. Depression is okay. If you’re going through it, know that you’re okay. And know that you’re sick, you’re not weak, and it’s an issue, not an identity, because when you get past the fear and the ridicule and the judgment and the stigma of others, you can see depression for what it really is, and that’s just a part of life, just a part of life, and as much as I hate, as much as I hate some of the places, some of the parts of my life depression has dragged me down to, in a lot of ways I’m grateful for it. Because yeah, it’s put me in the valleys, but only to show me there’s peaks, and yeah it’s dragged me through the dark but only to remind me there is light. My pain, more than anything in 19 years on this planet, has given me perspective, and my hurt, my hurt has forced me to have hope, have hope and to have faith, faith in myself, faith in others, faith that it can get better, that we can change this, that we can speak up and speak out and fight back against ignorance, fight back against intolerance, and more than anything, learn to love ourselves, learn to accept ourselves for who we are, the people we are, not the people the world wants us to be.

Because the world I believe in is one where embracing your light doesn’t mean ignoring your dark. The world I believe in is one where we’re measured by our ability to overcome adversities, not avoid them. The world I believe in is one where I can look someone in the eye and say, “I’m going through hell,” and they can look back at me and go, “Me too,” and that’s okay, and it’s okay because depression is okay.

We’re people. We’re people, and we struggle and we suffer and we bleed and we cry, and if you think that true strength means never showing any weakness, then I’m here to tell you you’re wrong. You’re wrong, because it’s the opposite. We’re people, and we have problems. We’re not perfect, and that’s okay.

 

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