Over the past few months, I’ve read ESPN’s headline story about a track athlete taking a running jump to her death, saw updates on the thought process behind Robin Williams suicide, and I’ve even noticed one of my role models, Andrew Jenks, disclose his own struggles on twitter.
My initial response to the posts were pretty uncomfortable.
They felt invasive. They felt way too close to home.
Depression was pretty common in my household as a child. My grandmother committed suicide over 37 years ago, and many of my immediate family members also deal with a similar fight. Still, even with depression so present in our family circle – we never talk about it. We all know it exists. We all know we are fighting the same fight, but we go along with our day to day interactions without addressing the issues. We’ve pushed those big elephants further and further into the corner, until they’ve become this sort of shrine that we aren’t allowed to talk about or visit.
I don’t know if this is just with me, but depression has always had such a negative connotation. Growing up, my father (along with members of his church) believed depression wasn’t real. They didn’t understand how it could truly overcome someone, and they thought medication was nearly sinful. For some reason, that has stuck with me – no matter how hard I’ve tried to fight it. I’ve struggled with depression for years, but I’ve never wanted to admit it. Not even to myself. I’ve refused to see doctors or take medications because I didn’t want to be labeled. I didn’t want anyone to think I had anything else working against me.
Depression isn’t something I struggle with on a daily basis, but when it comes – which it always does – it really hits hard. I go through this weird stage of feeling completely disconnected from the world around me. Holidays, religious sanctions, and even close relationships all suddenly seem so systematic. I know that may sound harsh, but I don’t know how else to explain it. Life suddenly becomes more like a formula or Nintendo game, and I can’t seem to rally up the significance in it all.
The general separation from the daily world is bad enough, but feeling like you’re the only person experiencing those thoughts is even worse. I guess that’s why I’m saying all this now. I guess that’s why I’m happy other people are finally saying it too. This depression thing is real. It doesn’t have a standard, there are no prerequisites, and there’s no reason to go through it alone.
Let it out.