Too often we see people with depression try to overcompensate for the way they feel inside. Bubbly, funny people that don’t seem even remotely broken or in danger.
The truth is whether or not you see it, it’s happening.
Every day they are losing hope. They are struggling. They are holding these feelings back because someone, somewhere told them they should stop being dramatic. They should look around at all the good in their lives. They should stop being so self – Centered. They are attention whores. They should stop being a “Debbie downer.” They should realize that others have it worse.
The problem with these comments is that they imply that we have a choice in the matter of depression.
There are things we can do to make living with it easier, but don’t misunderstand me; depression isn’t something you can just decide not to have.
Just like you don’t decide to accidentally break your leg. Same thing. Only people with a broken leg get sympathy.
When you break your leg it heals.
When you have chronic depression… you deal.
The following are pictures of people who are so incredibly strong. They internalized all of their pain in that time of their lives because the world did not and could not help them.
The most important part though, is that despite that fact, I am happy to report that all of them are still alive. Not just surviving, not just existing, but thriving despite depression! And I am honored to know them all personally.
Jennifer C. (Then)
During the time all of these were taken I had a really hard home life because of constant fights with my dad.
On top of it I was in such an unhealthy/abusive romantic situation.
I was basically the queen of putting on a fake smile. Nobody, not even my best friends knew how hard things were on me because I always had a joke to tell.
They didn’t know that almost every night I was alone I would cry myself to sleep.
Jennifer C (Now)
Lots of therapy and meds helped! But all jokes aside I had to go on a very, very long personal journey of learning to love myself. It’s super hard and I’ll have to work on it the rest of my life, but being on that path is very rewarding.
Eric M (Then)
After losing two loved ones and 2 of my best friends, I was completely lost and depressed. Seeking comfort from friends and family, all I got was “well stop it” “no you aren’t” and “just be happy”.
After long exposure to these words, all you see is a smile, a smile hiding screams of pain, pretending to happy just for their benefit.
Eric M. (Now)
After years of depression and seclusion, I found hope in people who helped me by, as they were in the same situation. Life is as good as you make it, there will be downfalls in life but they are only as great and powerful as you allow them to be.
Elizabeth W. (Then)
Falling in love was scary. But being in love was a nightmare. Smiling was easy. It was happiness that was unattainable. This man became my addiction, my source of love that I was missing.
One day, like a light switch, he turned from my savior to my personal hell. It was in my prime years of adulthood that I learned what domestic rape was. I learned what abuse was.
I learned how to cook, clean, be sexy, be submissive. I learned what a knife felt like. I learned what fear was. What it felt like to feel empty. Body issues. Suicidal.
Having an escape but not taking it because my mind, my brain was wired to enjoy this pain. This depression. It was my “normal.”
Elizabeth W. (Now)
I’m no longer dancing with the devil. Im no longer hiding behind a smile. Today I’m breathing. Today I’m feeling real feelings, good and bad. Today I can touch and be touched without wincing. Today I smile when I cry. My life is better. My life is worth something. Today I may still be learning to live with depression, but I am no longer controlled by my depression.
Chris M. (Then)
Depression made hanging out with friends difficult. There were times where I didn’t feel like going out.
Even though I’d always be smiling or joking around with friends, I tried to keep my depression to myself.
Chris M. (Now)
Surrounding myself with friends and family, and engaging in hobbies such as karaoke and video games, have really helped to raise my spirits.
Jess X.M. (Then)
At first I hid because I didn’t understand myself. When I figured myself out I hid because the world told me to.
I can’t describe to you the pain and suffering I went through in that time. I wanted so desperately to be understood. Behind the goofy faces and the smiles and the laughter was a girl that could barely get out of bed in the morning.
A girl that wanted nothing more than to silence my brain for good. In fact, I attempted suicide an hour after this picture was taken. The night of my 21st birthday party.
Jess X.M. (Now)
despite all of this, I am still here. Medication, therapy, and learning to love myself changed everything. My recovery sign is a lightning bolt. Bright, Brilliant, and will destroy anything that gets in her way. I run this blog to help others in hopes that they don’t feel as alone as I did, and I work hard every day to try an end the stigma.
To the people that suffer with depression: Be proud of yourselves. Do not forget to give yourself credit for every single day that you defeat your depression.
It’s kind of haunting when you think about it. You see these smiley and happy photos of people and realize that on the inside they are crying out for help. They want someone to tell them that it isn’t their fault for feeling the way they do despite how much their brain tells them it is. They aren’t looking for you to resolve their problems or fix them. They are looking for someone to listen. To be there. To say that they believe what is happening is real.
People with depression hear the phrase “It’s all in your head” all the time.
And you know what? That phrase is absolutely correct.
We have a chemical imbalance in our brains.
It is all in our heads.
Think about that.
I’ll leave you with these statistics:
Over 40,000 Americans die of suicide every year.
Do you honestly believe that every year 40,000+ people lose their lives over something that doesn’t exist?
90% of those who die by suicide had a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death.
Do not hesitate to save the ones you love.
Some may not have another day left in them.