Have you ever tried climbing a rope with one hand? Think about it. Even if you haven’t, you may think it’s impossible. Well you’re right. It’s not possible. You can try if you want, and maybe you’ll succeed, just not for long.
It’s the same thing when it comes to depression. Depression. That’s a strong word I used just there. Common mental illness and yet everyone tries to avoid this topic. It’s like for most of your life you feel like you’re living in two different worlds: the one that everyone sees and then there’s the life that only you see. And if you’d ask your friends and family to describe you they’d say the same things of how everyone sees you. But if someone asked you what you felt about yourself, you’d say some of those things too and although you wouldn’t be lying about it, you also wouldn’t be saying the whole truth. Truth is, you’d be someone struggling with depression.
Now for someone who has never experienced depression or doesn’t know what that means then they must be surprised to hear this because there’s a misconception that depression is just being sad when something in your life goes wrong. When you lose a loved one, or you don’t get the grades you wanted. But that’s sadness. It’s a natural emotion. Depression isn’t being sad when something in your life goes wrong. It’s when everything in your life goes right. And it’s been made so hard to talk about that it’s been entirely hidden. Like it doesn’t exist. It’s a huge problem but we don’t see it on social media because it’s not happy or fun. There’s no light. So because we don’t see it, we don’t see the severity of it. The severity of it is this: every 30 seconds someone somewhere takes their own life because of depression. It may be 2 miles away or 2 continents away but it’s happening. We have this tendency as a society to look at it and say, “So what?” We look at it and say, “That’s their problem and their lives.”
You are afraid of people seeing you for how you really are and that behind those big smiles hid bigger problems. Some people may be afraid of people not accepting them, or spiders, and even death. Some are afraid of themselves. You fear your truth and vulnerability, and that forces you into a corner. A corner that only has one way out which you probably thought of every single day because that’s the illness. That’s the struggle. That’s depression.
Depression isn’t chickenpox. You don’t beat it once and it’s gone forever but instead you live with it. It’s the roommate you can’t kick out or the voice you can’t ignore. The scariest part is that you become numb to it. It becomes normal. And what you fear the most isn’t the suffering inside of you but it’s the stigma inside of others. It’s the shame and embarrassment and the disapproving look on the friend’s face and the whispers in the hallway saying that you’re crazy. That’s what makes you hold it in and hide it. Even when it makes you feel empty each morning because the stigma in this society is very real. If you think that it isn’t then ask yourself this: would you rather tell your friend that you can’t get out of bed because your back hurts or because you’re depressed? That’s the stigma.
I was watching a video related to depression and I came across a point where the man said, “If you break your arm, everyone runs over to sign your cast. If you have depression, everyone runs away to the other side.”
It’s so sad to admit this but very true.
We put depression aside hoping that it’ll fix itself but it won’t. It never will.
The first step to solve a problem is to recognize it. We haven’t done that so we can’t expect to find an answer when we are afraid of the question. Honestly – I don’t even know what the solution is. I wish I did but I don’t.
However I think it should start here. It has to start with you and I. The people who are suffering from depression. We need to be the ones to get out of the darkness and speak up. To be brave in what we believe in. I’m not saying that we should build a world where we cut the ignorance of others. But to build a world where we can accept ourselves. Because when we get honest we see that we all struggle.
Remember, you cannot climb a rope with one hand. You cannot suffer through this alone. Use your other hand as well. Ease the pain. Get help. Be open about it. Most importantly, embrace it.