Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Don't Downsize Depression

Too many people these days still don't understand what depression can do to you. After hearing someone I love dearly say something along the lines of "Why would Robin Williams be depressed when he had fame, fortune, and a loving family?", I felt like I needed to just take a moment and collect my thoughts. You may not know why it affects someone, but you should know that it is very real. And the effects are very real.

What you have and don't have makes no difference. Depression does not see riches or fame. On the outside, maybe you look like you lead the perfect life. Maybe you seem like the happiest and most positive person on the planet. 

I have suffered from anxiety and depression since childhood. Part of it comes from my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, my hormonal imbalance, and mostly things from my life (mainly when I was school age- both at home and at school). I do not want to tell my full story on here and only a select few know it.

If you do not suffer from depression, you may not understand how frequently detrimental thoughts can pop into your head. How you think it would be a blessing to end it all. I tried to commit suicide three times while growing up and thought about it more times than I can count. Did anyone ever know? No. We so often suffer in silence and learn to cover it up well. We put a smile on our face, make others laugh, become the strong one for others to lean on, and you are never the wiser.

By the time I reached college, I was in so much emotional pain that I stopped eating. I stopped caring about my grades. I had completely stopped being myself and shut down. My work study boss/mentor noticed this change and reached out to me. I started seeing someone weekly on campus to talk about anything, everything, and most importantly, myself. It is absolutely amazing what just talking can do. Those olive branches that were given to me might very well have saved me during my worst time. 

Depression has a stigma for being a silent killer. And we have let it stay that way for too long. Don't downsize someone's feelings and don't downsize your own. No matter what you are going through, I promise you that there is an ear waiting to listen somewhere. A hand ready to help. A hug ready to happen. You just have to stop being silent. Don't be afraid to let people in, to reach out, and get help. You are not weak. By not being silent any longer, you are strong. So strong! Do not fight the battle alone.

I have my bad days and I have my good days. We can fight this together. If you think that no one in your life will understand or that they will judge you, then email me. I will listen. If you want me to call you, we will talk. If you want to text, we will text. Whatever kind of communication you like, I will make it happen.  

You are not alone.


Wendy Banner said...

This post makes me believe even more now that you are one of my long lost sisters, you would swear we were sitting next to each other as we both typed out our post's for today. It's amazing of you to put yourself out there for others to contact if they are needing someone to talk to. And please feel free to get in touch with me if you every need someone to listen because everyone needs someone :)

Wendy Banner said...

Lovely post Wendy. It's so easy to feel alone when your stuck in your head and dealing with depression. I had a similar experience in college, and cannot tell you how reassuring it is to hear that I am not the only person that struggled.

Wendy Banner said...

I think a big part of the reason that people don't take depression seriously is because the word is thrown around like its nothing. People have a bad day and say they are depressed, that is not depression.

Wendy Banner said...

I heard much of the same thing. Depression can affect anyone. I have suffered from clinical depression since my early 20s and have been on anti-depressants for much of my life. There is such a stigma still to this day about mental illness. Just because someone is rich, famous, adored, talented and seems to have it all, that does not exempt them from depression. As you well know, you can't just snap out of it. Thank you for writing such a great post. I hope his tragic death maybe helped one person struggling to seek help.

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