First I want to acknowledge a beautiful piece of writing. A friend of mine wrote about the struggles and stigmas facing those with mental health issues and it resonated with me in a way that nothing I have ever read has managed to do.
Read it here, and don't continue reading this post until you are finished: https://hpwritesblogs.wordpress.com/2015/06/18/www-thesemicolonproject-com/
Mental health is a very serious issue. Too many times I have been told that I have no reason to be depressed, or that I am not someone "who looks like they would be depressed." As if depression waits for a reason or only befalls those who act or look a certain way. Too many times it has been implied that I don't fit a stereotype. And I think my friend said it best when she wrote that "You cannot put me in a box decorated with black nail polish and frequent trips to Hot Topic because you don’t wear depression like a necklace or put on anxiety like a hat."
To be depressed does not mean that you wear all black and seclude yourself from the world. It can fall onto people that you would not once think it could happen to.
Depression can be the person that smiles every day and stands out in a crowd because of their charisma and leadership abilities.
Depression can be the person that isn't afraid to speak their mind.
Depression can be the person that has a big attitude and a tendency to communicate with sarcasm.
Depression can be your high school's student body vice president.
It can be the person that is outgoing and involved and seems like they have every reason to be happy.
Depression doesn't care if you should be happy.
Depression doesn't give a damn about how good of a life you have.
It'll tear you down anyway.
It is a monster. A monster that works its way into your head and can cast a shadow on every happy thought you've ever had. Nothing is off limits.
But that's not enough.
It causes pain. It causes so much pain. Enough pain that some people want to die to get away from it.
It causes enough pain that you will do anything to escape from the monster in your head, even for just a brief moment in time. You will do whatever it takes for that instant of freedom, even open your own skin and make yourself bleed. Because physical pain is nothing in comparison to what that monster in your head can put you through. I know. I have the scars that will forever remind me of my feeble attempts at escape. Those will never go away. And there's no glory behind them. They are not some metaphor for struggle and triumph. They are scars. Nothing more and nothing less.
Because hurting yourself isn't a permanent solution. My scars are not beautiful. They do not make me brave. For six years I tried to combat the pain in my mind with physical pain, and that didn't do a damn thing. From the time I was 14 until well after I turned 20 I turned to a knife to silence the voice in my head that told me to hate who I was.
I hid myself behind a huge amount of extra curricular activities, a busy schedule, and an often fake smile so I could appear to be "normal" when, in reality, normal is not real. Normality, like perfection, are figments of the imagination that people try to achieve when it is truly impossible.
Yes, there were people that tried to tell me otherwise. People that loved me and continued to love me even when I couldn't love myself. But nobody could force me to like me. That was something I had to hash out for myself.
I love who I am. I love who I have the potential to be.
My depression was not beautiful. It was ugly. The battle was ugly. The effect it had on me and the people that I love was ugly.
I went through all of high school feeling like I was alone in my struggle, and didn't confide in anyone. And it was so unnecessary. I had every reason to be happy and depression wouldn't let me see that.
If you suffer from depression, or anxiety, or something in your head isn't right I beg you to seek help. Especially if you have ever thought of hurting yourself, have hurt yourself, or have ever had suicidal thoughts. You are not alone. This world should not be deprived of the light that you can bring into it. There is help for you.
And if someone tells you that you're just seeking attention, or being dramatic, or that you have no right or reason to be depressed, or that there are people who have it worse than you please tell them to pull their head out of their ass, because their ass is not a hat. They're contributing to the stigmatization of a disease that has taken so many precious lives and snuffed out so much happiness.
Everybody deserves to be happy and to love who they are.