What You Should Know Before You Tell Me to 'Snap Out of' Depression

It’s easy to say, but harder to do. “Snap out” of it that is. I’m talking about depression. Not just the blues. Not sadness that comes and goes. I’m talking about deep depression. A sadness that won’t go away. An empty feeling of being lonely. A feeling of not belonging. A feeling of hopelessness and worthlessness. The type of sadness you feel in your bones. When nothing is really wrong, yet nothing is quite right either.

I cannot pinpoint the exact moment I started feeling overwhelmed with depression. All I know is that it feels like missing the desire to breathe. Nights are bad, but mornings are worse. I’ve been depressed for such a long period of time it’s as if I’m afraid to feel anything else. I’m afraid to be happy, because I know deep down that just a glimpse of joy would be just that — a glimpse.

Being depressed is like an addiction. I need my sadness to stay alive, yet at the same time, my sorrow is killing me slowly. I’ve gotten so used to feeling alone and empty I don’t know how to act when I’m feeling something other than depression.

I’ve tried to change. I’ve tried changing my hair color. I’ve tried a new hairstyle. I’ve changed my clothes, my friends and my lifestyle. I try to list my hobbies, but nothing comes to mind. I just can’t “snap out of it.”

There are people out there who feel like I do. We are not an isolated group, yet we are isolated from the world around us. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. In 2010, more people died from suicide than in car crashes. Yet, I believe no one listens. For young people, for every one completed suicide there are 25 attempts. Every year, up to 250,000 people become suicide survivors — people who’ve lost a loved one to suicide. Every year, over 800,000 people die from suicide worldwide.

So can you hear me now? I may be your daughter, son, brother, sister, your aunt or uncle. I may be your mother or father. I may just be your neighbor. But I’m here to tell you that I matter. Depression is real. Depression is a serious mental issue. Take off your blinders. Take a good look into my eyes and see me. Do you see me now, or am I still invisible?

If you or someone you know needs help, see our suicide prevention resources.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Depression

sarah silverman in film 'i smile back'

In Unlikely Sarah Silverman Role, Comedian Plays Mother With Depression

Get ready to see Sarah Silverman like you’ve never seen her before — as Laney, a mother and wife who struggles with depression and substance abuse in the upcoming drama “I Smile Back.” In what Access Hollywood called a “career-changing performance,” the comedian portrays a woman trying to balance motherhood with her demons, addressing the realities [...]

Why I'm Speaking Up About Lawyers and Depression

Years ago, 1997 to be exact, I was thinking about writing an article for a lawyer’s magazine about my experiences with depression while practicing law. I had lunch with a good friend of mine, Bob, who at that time worked in a large litigation firm in New York City. Since then, Bob has become a [...]

The Moment in 'Twilight' That Made Me Face My Depression

I’m watching “Twilight.” Bella is sitting in a chair in her bedroom and Edward has left her. Her fears have come to fruition — she isn’t good enough. She feels lost, alone, scared, hurt, worthless and abandoned. Lykke Li’s haunting singing intensifies the pain. My chest is tight, my heart is hurting and I’m crying. No, [...]

An Open Apology to Anyone With Depression

This apology is for all the people with depression I’ve spoken with, written with, worked with and met, and all the lovely souls dedicated to helping us spread the word on depression and mental illness at the University of Colorado Depression Center: I’m sorry. I didn’t get it. I owe you an apology. A huge [...]