To My 19-Year-Old Self: Depression Is Not a Disease of One

Dear 19-year-old me,

I’m you at 37 years old, and I finally got through another year. This year, I have learned so much I want you to know.

There will be people who will look at you and see you for your illness, and you need to know you are so much more than just depression. The very people who are supposed to love and care for you will tell you who you are, and what you feel and how you act. Ironically, you may do just that because it’s what they expect you to do. Do not give in to them — distance yourself if you must, or tell them to stop. When you do your own thing, you will find you are truly strong and can still overcome the bad days and celebrate the good ones.

Always be good to your friends who have invisible illnesses, because they will love and support you as you grow strong during the good days and help you get back up on those bad days. Do not forget that depression lies to you, and that these friends truly do love and care for you. Never, ever doubt or forget that.

It will also make you want to hide from the world or make you feel that you are not worthy to be in it. Not true! You have a purpose here, even if you don’t see it yet. Lives will be touched in ways you would have never imagined, and this will require your words and actions. Your uniqueness is what will make the difference in those very lives, so you are required on this planet right now. You just wait and see! It’s OK to be a little less than humble, I promise.

You have a long and hard road ahead of you, but never give up. There will be others out there who will need you as you have needed others. Depression is not a disease of one, even if we feel it is. We must help each other survive and hope, because there will be good days we just have to work a little harder to get to.

When we do get them, we have a bigger reason to celebrate and not take them for granted.

With much love,
A happier you

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