“What reason do you have to be depressed?” “You’re so young, you don’t even know what real problems are, believe me, you’re not depressed.” “You’re just over reacting.”
These statements only begin the list of doubts I heard from not only strangers, but even family and friends when it first became apparent that I was struggling. Struggling being the watered down term I began to use when depressed caused people to tip toe around me as if I were made of glass.
While it didn’t take much to admit to myself that I was depressed, telling others was another story. I knew that people wouldn’t believe me. And even worse, people would.
To this day, several years later, my history with depression isn’t a story that I tell very frequently. There is such a stigma around the word, especially for young people. People immediately want to know every reason you have to explain why you are depressed. They think that just because you are under the age of twenty five, your life requires their expertise to determine the legitimacy of your mental illness.
Dozens of therapy sessions and many long nights crying later, I can proudly say that I survived my battle with depression. But that was just one fight. The truth is, for most, depression is a long war that has to be fought many times before it’s truly won. But the difference is, I’m not scared this time.
I swore to myself after I was quote on quote determined “cured”, that I wouldn’t speak of my depression publicly again. The truth is, I’m not even certain why I am doing it now, but what I do know, is that there are way too many young kids hiding in their rooms, suffering, afraid to tell anyone because they are afraid they won’t be heard.
I remember all to well being sixteen with my head between my knees in the corner of my room, sobbing into a pillow in hopes that no one would hear me. Just as awful, I remember the days that I couldn’t cry at all and my body felt numb.
I know I am just one person in billions. But we all are. If nothing else, I hope this post makes you think. I know it’s different from my previous poems and stories, some even uplifting and inspirational. But the truth is, if I hadn’t been able to make it through my very real depression, a depression many people didn’t want to recognize existed in me, then I wouldn’t have been here to write these posts.
You’re not alone. Your depression is real. You can beat it. Thankfully for me, I had very loving parents and an amazing best friend that pulled me through to the other side, while I kicked and screamed right along side them. But many people aren’t as lucky. All it takes is for one person to say “This is real. This is not in your head. This is scary, but you are going to be okay.”
Be that person.
Please leave me a comment, let’s start a discussion. And please, feel free to share. The world needs you.