When I created this blog, I had intended to use for purely geeky purposes. To talk about my favorite things, to show my newest autograph, make book reviews and more.
There’s something very personal in my life, that I never planned to bring here. It’s something that I don’t really talk about. Recent activities online have brought up some things for me. If others are helping to erase the stigma, then by God, I am going to do my part too. Every small step adds up, right?
I have depression. (Oh, and anxiety/social anxiety, and panic attacks. Awesome, huh? *eye roll*)
And I have had it since I was 16, so half of my life. I go through periods of good, when all is smooth sailing. Then I have periods of darkness, where I either feel major self hate, or numb. Both are awful. Both are nothing but hell.
Actor Jared Padalecki started the ‘Always Keep Fighting’ campaign, helping to bring awareness to mental health and slowly helping to break the stigma. Seeing someone like him, in the spotlight with millions of eyes on him, talk about his own battles made me feel like I am not so alone in this.
A couple of days ago he caused some worry for his legions of fans, myself included, when he tweeted that he had to go home and see his family, and “I need all the love I can get right now. Please give me a few seconds of your time and write me. #AlwaysKeepFighting.”
With so much talk about depression and mental health online lately, and seeing Jared do so much, it made me realize how much I hide my depression. I don’t tell many people about it. I don’t talk to anyone about it when I am going through a rough patch.
Because of ignorance. I have had shitty comments made to me over the years, which is why I started hiding that part of me. It’s funny how if a physical part of you is broken, people give sympathy or come to try and help you. But if it is something they can’t see, it is a whole other story. They turn their back, either not understanding or not knowing what the hell to do.
I’m not keeping quiet anymore.
I am not a person who should be ashamed or be made to feel bad for something I CAN’T HELP.
If you suffer from depression or another form of mental illness, don’t feel embarrassed. Don’t hide like you have something that is a dirty little secret. I’m no longer hiding. And if someone has an issue with that, if someone can’t deal, then it is their problem, not mine.
And if you don’t have depression, anxiety or whatnot, be careful what you say to others. Educate yourself.
Here are a few things said to me over the years.
“What do you have to be sad about anyway?”
Do you think I like feeling like this? Yes, I have a good life. I’m part business owner of the salon I work in. I’m a published author. I have a loving mother (and father, RIP), a fiance who loves me. I’m healthy, I have friends (not a lot, but I’d rather a small number of loyal friends then a bucket full of fake ones.) Could certain things in my life be better? Sure. But my life is good. That has no bearing on my depression.
“Why can’t you just be happy?”
Do you think I like waking up, feeling ‘numb’ for days and weeks on end? Feeling nothing. Or do you think I like waking up, having what I call a good day, and by noon or the evening my internal frame of mind has taken a complete turn? Feeling good one minute and literally like hell the next? Nobody wakes up and decides to be depressed.
“If you were down why didn’t you just call/email/text?”
Okay so that isn’t exactly a shitty thing, however, odds are of reaching out are slim to none. People who are depressed feel as if they are a burden, myself included. If I was just having a blue day and needed some fun, sure I will get in touch. But if it’s something deeper, I won’t be the one going to you. My inner dialogue? “He/she has their own shit pile, no need to bother them with this.”
“There are people worse off then you.”
Yes, I know that. And thanks for the added guilt, as if I wasn’t feeling shitty enough. Thank you for making me feel bad about something I can’t control.
“Well it could be worse.”
True. But spend ten minutes inside my head during a dark period and maybe you will understand my personal hell.
“You don’t look depressed.”
You don’t look ignorant.
The stigma in regards to mental health needs to stop. If you suffer from something, please get help if you need it. If you don’t suffer from depression, please have some love and compassion for the people in your life who do. You have no idea what another person is thinking or feeling. Please don’t judge. (I think it is safe to say that everyone should follow that golden rule.)
I could say a lot more on the topic, and I probably will another day. These are just some of the random things going through my head the last few days. No matter what you suffer from, you are NOT alone.
Always Keep Fighting.