I’ve written about depression before. In the wake of Robin Williams suicide everyone is sharing their opinion on depression and so I hesitated to add mine. However, after seeing a lot of information out there I felt there was something that needs to be made clear, depression is an illness, not a choice.
Depression is an illness as real as my physical illness, it’s just harder to see an even harder to diagnose. Depression is often invisible even though it can be as deadly as cancer is. Depression is agony, just as cancer is. It can beat you down and destroy your mind and body and convince you that you are worthless and that no one cares about you. And unlike cancer, it’s a secret illness. It’s not easy to see the effects so you don’t get a lot of support.
I was always taught that I had control over my life. I needed to be both physically and mentally strong. If I just did the right things and followed the right path then I would maintain control. Yes, bad things might happen to me, but I could still have control over my reaction to them. Depression (like health) takes away your ability to control. It takes away your self worth and your ability to cope, it convinces you that you can do nothing to make things better. It convinces you that no one wants to help you and that everyone would judge you if you told the truth. It convinces you that a councilor would just laugh and you and tell you to get over it. It convinces you that no one else feels the way you do and that you are utterly alone.
Depression isn’t failure.
Depression isn’t a choice.
Depression isn’t weakness.
Depression is an illness. Much like my physical illnesses, depression isn’t easy to cure, but there are ways to make improvements and to cope. If you are depressed and that voice is telling you that you are worthless and that no one cares, it is lying to you. I care, people care, they just don’t know. So please, please, reach out for help. There are many, many people who feel the same way and can relate to how you feel, reach out to them and let them help you.