Depression is a disease that truly does not discriminate, and it's time we start an open and honest dialogue about the realities of living in it's shadow. In fact, it's so incredibly common that according to a report by the National Institute of Mental Health, 350 million people worldwide suffer from it annually — that is approximately five percent of the world's population.
Despite depression's prevalence, there is still a large amount of stigma surrounding the discussion of mental illness. Many people, families, and communities lack the vocabulary to even begin a healthy and productive conversation, and there is so much misinformation out there that lends itself to bias, judgement, and discrimination. Depression is a disease, and should be treated as such. It's physicality may not be tangible, and it's validity is unquestionable. Those suffering through it should not have to do so in silence. They are not alone.
If you or a loved one are struggling with depression or any other type of mental illness, please do not be afraid to reach out for help by calling the US Suicide Hotline (1-800-784-2433), or the NDMDA Depression Hotline Support Group (1-800-826-3632). And if you notice someone displaying signs of mental health issues, don't wait — reach out yourself. Remember that depression can be crippling, to the point that it can mute your impulse to ask for help.
Recently, people on twitter got real about what it's like to live with depression. Here's what they had to say.
1. The Outside looking In
You can't always tell what someones going through just by glancing over. Engage with them instead.
2. Being Told How To Feel
Telling those struggling with depression to reach out is often not enough. Validate their experiences. Reach out yourself.
3. Protecting Loved Ones With Distance
Irrational thought is common when dealing with a state of mental disarray.
4. Never Feeling Refreshed
Contrary to popular belief, no amount of "bed rest" can cure depression.
5. Being Told To "Get Over It"
Don't you think she would "get over" it if she could?
7. Lacking Longevity In Your Happiness
Happiness can feel forever fleeting.
8. Like You Aren't Your Old Self
Do not hold the experiences or transformations of those struggling with their mental health against them. It's not their fault.
9. Negative Self Talk
And you can't just silence the voices but muttering a mantra or practicing mindfulness. They don't scare that easy.
10. Medication Isn't Always The Answer
Medication is not always the end-all-be-all. It may be the right choice for some, but it's important to remember that it's not right for everyone.
11. It's A Health Problem
For most people struggling with depression, it isn't a matter of "staying strong".
12. No One Is Immune
The level of success you have achieved does not protect you from depression. It truly does not discriminate.
13. You Can Be Victorious
Not to be absolutely cheesy — but there really is a light at the other end of the tunnel.
Next time you or a loved one are struggling with your mental health, try to remember: you are not the only one, there are millions of people who understand what you are going through, and who see and support you. Depression might feel like an invisible illness, but with the help and power of unconditional love, it can finally see the light of day.
If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.