Depression is an important subject to talk about. If you are depressed, you need to speak about your depression out loud, not just in your head. Say what it is you are feeling. You need to tell at least one other person. You need to trust someone, call a crisis line, talk to your therapist, your mate, your friend(s), tell them you are feeling depressed, feeling suicidal, and in danger of taking your own life. The pain is too much to handle alone. You must speak out.
If you as one person start to talk about depression, then one more and one more, pretty soon it will break down the stigma that keeps everyone quiet about what is going on inside the mind when depressed. If you don’t tell anyone, you may seriously, die. It’s your life you may lose.
The stigma is so high with depression. Any mental illness carries a stigma. We need to end the stigma. Let’s start with depression. You do not ask for it or bring it on yourself. You are not sad because you lost an animal or someone you loved left or died. It is a state in the mind which makes you feel like gravity is pulling you into the ground. People tell you, “What do you have to be depressed about?” “Just stop it.” It isn’t that simple. People blame you and feel you should be able to control depression. You should make yourself happy again, using magic thinking. It doesn’t work.
If you are injured, breaking your arm, or ill with bronchitis, everyone is conciliatory, giving you support. When I broke my ankle twice, everyone was there to support me. I came out of my shell and enjoyed myself. Not the same with depression.
People who are depressed need to come out of the closet. The people around them need to show understanding and compassion, not judge a person who is depressed or push them aside as not being fun. The media needs to stop distorting how people with mental illness will behave. Mental illness does not cause a person to do the violence we keep hearing about in the news. It is a distortion, a news bite they feel people can relate to. It is an illusion that needs to be broken.
Forcing silence on depression buries it deeper into the darkness. Finding the way out is a struggle. I feel depressed often. It is the dark side of bipolar. I write prose, poems and create art for my blog “the secret keeper.” It keeps me alive and gives me something to do that makes me feel I am discovering something healing, and maybe affecting some part of the universe when I share openly and honestly how I feel.
I read a powerful short story about a boy and starfish. When he came upon a starfish, he would hurriedly throw them back into the sea. A man approached and saw the boy throwing something into the water. As he neared, he asked the boy, what he was doing. The boy told him, “The surf is up and the tide is going out. I am trying to save the starfish.” The man’s reply was, “Don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference.” After listening politely, the boy bent down and picked up another starfish and threw it back into the surf. He smiled at the man and said, “I made a difference to that one.”
Every act we do makes a difference. If we listen to someone who needs to talk, to tell us they are depressed. It would make a difference to them. If we listened with no judgement, we might make them feel they mattered to someone in that moment. Doing this may just save a life. It may make someone smile just a little inside, knowing someone cared enough to make them feel they weren’t alone in their struggle.