Yesterday was World Mental Health Day; a day which promotes open discussion and tries to raise awareness about mental health and mental illness. The theme for this year was depression, and I asked you all, if you felt safe doing so, to share your stories
The response was overwhelming. Thank you all so much. Here’s a summary:
[Trigger Warning: Depression, suicide, self harm]
This coming May will be the 9th anniversary of my diagnosis. February will be the 5th anniversary of my first episode of cutting, after a long history of self harm. March was the 5th anniversary of my hospitalization. This coming July will be the 1st anniversary of my worst depressive episode to date, and my first true-to-life, this-is-really-happening-to-me suicide attempt.
Today, the first World Mental Health Day I’ve celebrated, I’m thinking about all these things and wondering how much has changed, and how much has stayed the same. I’m thinking about tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. I’m thinking about a year from now, two years, ten. I’m thinking about my life, and all the pain and joy and love within it. I’m thinking about myself, and I’m thinking about the friends and family who have kept me alive (in the most painfully literal of ways possible) over these long years. I’m thinking about who I was and who I am. I’m thinking about how I’ve changed, and how my illness has stayed the same. It is the same fear, hatred, and despair now that it was ten years ago. It hasn’t changed.
But I have.
I have changed. I am stronger. I am. I know it. This monster still follows me, still hurts me, still breaks me, but every time it does I am stronger for it.
Maybe this is something that will never leave me. Maybe this is something that can never truly be conquered. There will be days where I can’t get out of bed. There will be days when all I can do is cry. There will be days where I can’t bear the thought of living any longer.
But you know what? I’m going to fucking live.
Just to spite this motherfucker, I’m going to live.
I’m going to live.
And I think that sometimes, that’s more than enough.
I have been dealing with depression for 10 years of my life. Depression is like a haze that makes it so you cant see the things and the people you love. It takes away the things you love doing. It takes away your ambition and motivation and it can even take away your voice because just speaking about it can be the hardest thing. My depression has caused a lot of struggles in my life. Just getting out of bed can be the hardest struggle of all. You feel like you’re constantly fighting and people call you lazy when you don’t have the energy to move. You get angry at people for criticizing how you look or for spending all your time locked away in your room when they don’t know it took all you had just to be around them. It hurts when they say “Get over yourself” “Take personal responsibility” especially when you see yourself as not good enough and a constant failure. Depression can be lonely especially when you don’t trust people to support you.
I experienced a personal tragedy at a young age and many people thought my depression symptoms were just from that. It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom in 2009 that I realized I couldn’t handle this on my own anymore.
In 2010 I got the courage to see someone about my symptoms and got a diagnosis.
In 2011 I discovered a new way of thinking. I used to think positive thinking was a bunch of bullshit but when you can will your brain to see the good things in life it makes all the difference.
I have been depression free for a year in a half. I know I’m not cured and it’s an illness I’ll have to manage just like any physical illness. But there is HOPE and you can have a fulfilling life.
I have had severe depression for nearly 12 years. I can’t tolerate medication so its especially difficult to deal with. The stigma is one of the worst parts. I don’t feel like writing much more on the topic right now because its, well, depressing. Awareness is important. That is all.
To everyone in Central Michigan: Community Mental Health is a wonderful place to get help. Sometimes it’s free! I get a psychiatrist and a therapist for no cost. Please look into it if you think you or a friend need assistance.
I have fought depression since I was about 10 or 11 years old (I am 23). I have gotten much better, and though I do have bad days, there are a long time between them. This is a very personal issue to me, but I just want to say: When I was at my lowest it wouldn’t have helped that strange people on the internet told me that it gets better. What did help though, was making enough of a fuss and grabbing every opportunity for help I could get. Don’t be scared to do this! Think: If you are at or near your lowest point, what harm could reaching out do? Reach out, seek help, ask others to help you seek help, and try your best to be insistent that you need it. Then, there is a great possibility that things will not worsen, and you might even have a shot at becoming one of those strange people on the internet that tells other people that everything gets better :)
been dealing with Depressive Realism for way too long, but I’m lucky to have supportive friends in my life who can be sensitive to it<3
Mental illness, especially depression and all its trappings, runs rampant in our family; we have traced it as far back as the 1700s. But it has only been since my mother and my siblings and I that it has been investigated and given help for. Stigma and lack of knowledge kept my family line in the dark. I hope the world continues to grow more understanding of this and other maladies as time goes on. -S.
I have been struggling with depression for as long as I can remember. I was “diagnosed” when I was seven years old with severe anxiety, depression and attention deficit disorder. I have had many experiences in which I have harmed my self whether cutting, burning or throwing myself into things. Pulling out my hair, punching myself in the face/head/legs, etc etc, coping with bulimia and later finding out that I have juvenile diabetes. Drugs, alcohol, I have been through a lot of these hardships in order to cope with my emotions and just every day life. Brushing my teeth and walking was an obstacle in itself, I would just trudge through life because I had to. There are days where I still have to convince myself to go on, but it has gotten much better. I refuse to take medication, as a child I was put on many and with one incident, I decided to take the entire bottle of my anti depressants and my a.d.d. medication and I fell into a deep sleep for two days. No one noticed what I attempted to do, and to this day my parents are unaware. I have written my obituary, given away my things and my last goodbyes more times than I can count on my fingers, tenfold. I just want to say, that it does get better if you want it to. You have to fight every single day like it is your last war, you have to face everyday challenges no matter how hard or how simple. Depression is not something that will ever go away, it is a disease, it is a sickness and the only cure is yourself. My heart and my everything goes out to all of you struggling with this but I am hopeful. I may not know you, but I love you and I care. Keep on keeping on, you can do it.
I used to think depression was a person being dramatic, but don’t let anyone tell you how you feel. In high school I felt the pressure and negativity of family and tried to end it all after a long anorexic journey, but luckily! my attempt was unsuccessful! In college, the depression seemed to come back along with negative thoughts, tons of self hate, self doubt, etc. it made studying difficult and it made me lose sight of what is really important. i got into bad relationships and made bad decisions. i’m on a better path now with the right medication, but sometimes it can still be tough. mental health is an important part of life so make you sure you nurture yours!