Vector illustration of a dejected man, walking with his back hunched, feeling down.

I recognize the vacant, absent look in your eyes, searching for one spark of hope in an endless maze of darkness. Every morning, you wake up with a boulder sitting on your chest, so heavy it’s hard to breathe. You feel unwanted, no matter what people say, because another voice speaks louder. Your family needs you, something small whispers from deep inside, and some days you can actually hear the words, like a life preserver you reach for desperately in a rocking ocean of pain. On bad days, the other voice roars in your head, drowning it out. No, you’re worthless, it says. It has the ability to mimic your own voice. Mine sounds like my inner voice, but it tells me all of the things I cannot do on repeat. Mimicking the voices of loved ones, it distorts and twists pieces of conversations into knots of lies, and exaggerates self-destructive thoughts.

I am my own worst critic.  

Mine shows me regrets — things I should have done. It tells me I can never do the things I want to do or be the beautiful person my friends and family believe I am. Taking a fowl, dark, hand and muffling my voice, it tries to keep me from talking to those I love. It tries to isolate me, whispering, you’re better off alone anyway, no one will understand how you feel. It tells me I’m too fat, too skinny, too ugly, too sick, a terrible mother, a bad person, and whatever else it needs to sink its tentacles deeper into my mind. All using my own voice, until I am a hollow shell, empty and defeated.

I recognize the hollow look in your eyes because I too am struggling.

You are not alone in this murky labyrinth of depression. There are others like us fumbling around in the dark. Silence only serves the illness, making it stronger. Getting help, talking to someone, even a friend is the first step. Everything might seem lost and hopeless right now. I promise if you hold on one more day, you will light up again eventually. You are never truly alone. We can navigate the mental health system together. You don’t have to struggle alone anymore.

For more information:

Anxiety and Depression

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Signs and Symptoms

Suicide Risk Factors and Warning Signs

Depression Online Support Groups

“And I felt like my heart had been so thoroughly and irreparably broken that there could be no real joy again, that at best there might eventually be a little contentment. Everyone wanted me to get help and rejoin life, pick up the pieces and move on, and I tried to, I wanted to, but I just had to lie in the mud with my arms wrapped around myself, eyes closed, grieving, until I didn’t have to anymore.”
― Anne Lamott, “Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year”

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

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

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Editor’s note: If you struggle with suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world

Sometimes, I really don’t get them.

People who want to live.

People who wake up with a will and a desire to keep going, to fight against the darkness that threatens to overwhelm, that waits, ever-present, to attack and consume.

I don’t get it.

I don’t understand people who think living is better than dying.

Because dying, oh my. It can seem like such a beautiful, blissful release. Who would want to stay in this world, where the fragile and frail are preyed upon daily by the strong and successful?

But then… I remember — I have a disorder. A disorder that makes me perpetually uneasy with the Way Things Are. A disorder that causes me to think of everything in terms of yes or no, black or white, stay or go.

I know this is not the reality of Things. This is not the Way Things Are, or the Way Things Should Be. This is simply the Way Things Seem when I am in the midst of a depressive episode.

I write, and it keeps the darkness at bay for a time. I disgorge the blackness onto the screen and the words console me, give me time to sort out my feelings and thoughts. Writing is catharsis for me, but sometimes even writing won’t push the suffocating blanket of depression back so I can breathe.

And so I reach out. I reach out to my husband, to my children, to my mother, my siblings, those around me who have willing ears and wiling hearts to listen. And they do. They listen, and they convince me to stay.

There are those who want so badly to convince you to remain. Don’t fly away just yet. Stay. Live yet a little while longer. Live, and grow, and find new reasons to exist one more day.

Reach out to them. Call a friend. Call a loved one. Call the hotline. Call anybody you can think of, but just call. Or text! Nowadays the suicide hotline has a texting option. This is invaluable for those of us who cringe from the very idea of making a phone call. Text 741-741 from anywhere in the USA, anytime, about any type of crisis.

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When you don’t get why people want to live; when depression tells you death would be better than life, there are those who understand, who get it. We know how you feel. We are ready to listen, if you can but see your way clear to take the first step towards feeling better.

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

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


If you’re romantically involved with a person who suffers from depression, you’ve likely searched the internet more than once for answers. Answers to questions like: “How do I tell my boyfriend to get out of bed?”; “Who do I call when my partner is suicidal?”; or even, “How long can a person cry before they become dangerously dehydrated?” The answers you find will vary greatly, and you’ll always need to alter the suggestions you find based on what will help your partner the most.

The following are five things I want my romantic partners to know, as a sufferer of chronic depression:

1. I hate it when you ask me why I’m crying, because I don’t have a reason for it. Well, actually, I do have a reason for it. I’m crying because I have chronic depression. No, I may not have a concrete reason for the tears cascading down my face. No, I didn’t undergo a recent tragedy, and I haven’t been watching those military home-coming videos again. You haven’t done anything wrong, I’m just crying. I’m. Just. Crying.

2. What I need from you on my “bad days” is not a lecture, a guilt trip or a “push” to get me out of bed. Sometimes I am not OK, and if today is one of those days, you need to let me not be OK.

3. If you notice I haven’t been doing well lately, please don’t run away. I need people to not run away from me when I’m unwell. I might need you to hold me on the bathroom floor for hours, I might need you to rub me on the back, I might need you to give me some space. Most importantly, I will definitely need to know you’re still there for me.

4. Frozen yogurt, bubble tea, and all of my other comfort foods will be much appreciated on my off days, but please also make sure I’m drinking water and eating actual nutritious food. Sometimes when I am depressed I fail to look after myself and having someone there to keep me healthy is much appreciated.

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5. I will not hate you forever if you call for help. I know in the moment I may be angry at you, but once I am out of my suicidal place/dark times, I will realize you did the right thing, and I won’t hold it against you. And if I hold it against you, just remember the help you reached out for might have saved my life, and that should be worth more than our relationship anyway.

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

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


1. I am always afraid someone will realize I am similar to some of the case studies — that I might flinch when a word is mentioned or I can’t sit still in class. Or that my mood may change from day to day.

2. I’m even more worried about the professor judging me. This is an actual professional in the field. I’m sure they know I’m not OK.

3. But I should not have been worried about the professor knowing — because they often understand the most and will be OK with me wanting to do things like take my final in another room because I felt trapped in the room during the midterm and that is why I couldn’t focus. I had another professor notice I was different (I was having a depressive phase), and he took the time to work with me because I had almost given up. At least in my experience, my professors have been nothing but helpful and understanding.

4. You will become familiar with the nurses in health services — and they have your number on file. But they are really nice people, even if they can only give ibuprofen.

5. Sometimes what you are studying can cause your symptoms to relapse. Learning about derealization actually felt like I was watching someone learn about it.

6. Papers and projects, while still anxiety-provoking, can be comforting if you have test anxiety or feel trapped by test day seating. At least, they are for me because tests give me horrible anxiety.

7. There’s a small amount of overthinking, but that just means you are prepared. I started planning my post-college career before I even started my freshman year. But, I am prepared for every situation. I probably am a walking pharmacy/medical kit.

8. There’s a chance for an episode in class. I’ve had to leave classes in a hurry to run to the bathroom due to panic attacks and other times have been glued to my chair as students stare at me and wonder if they are going to witness a student having a heart attack.

9. There are days when you just mentally cannot handle class — but you may need to push through it. I know I have wanted to hide underneath the desks and just lie there for no explainable reason other than my depression was so horrible that I couldn’t function. But after class was over was when I hid in my bed.

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10. Criticism and rejection are not the end of the world. I do not handle either very well. Criticism may always been hard to take, but you need to realize it can help you. I look at the essays I receive with fear and it is something I am still working on, but all you need to know is it is for your benefit. Rejection also does not mean the world is at a standstill. When I was not chosen to be an RA, I fell into a horrible depression. I was convinced there was something wrong with me. There was nothing wrong with me at all. It was probably because of some small reason or just too many people applying. Either way, I moved on.

11. You need a support system. I am part of a sorority. I have two “littles,” a “twin” and a “big,” all of whom are utterly amazing, not to mention all the friends I’ve made while being in the club. I also have an amazing boyfriend who will stand by my side when I have these moments.

12. Lastly, make time for yourself. There might be times where there’s too much stress and it’s negatively affecting you. Please, don’t let yourself get caught in the world of abnormal psychology when you might need a mental break.

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.


Blessing and depression in the same sentence? Yes, you read it right. Just hear me out on this. We always hear about the negative effects of mental illness. Of course, it’s no surprise when you think about the sadness, emptiness, mood swings and other emotions that are a result of depression. Many times the dark moments completely drown out all of the light.

In fact, it took me about a week to write this article because my demons were at full strength, telling me things like I was a disappointment, useless and have no purpose in life, making me wonder what the point of being here was. Today, the demons are a little less powerful, and my little ball of light and hope is shining fairly bright, allowing me to point out the positive effects I feel my depression has had on my life.

Because I have felt such pain, I am able to share more compassion.

Many people who have experienced depression will tell you the mental pain can be so overpowering. The emotional pain is something you feel deep down inside. With depression, it is often unconnected to any cause, and the pain is so intense. It can cause every fiber within your body to ache, sometimes causing you to feel paralyzed.

It is something I’d never wish for people to experience. Experiencing this pain has made me realize how important it is to show compassion and understanding. To listen to others, to truly listen and show them someone cares. I joke around saying I am a therapist in my group of friends. Any time someone is upset, I pull them aside and allow them to open up, as much as they feel needed, and offer advice in any way I can. I want them to be able to talk, vent and know I care. Even when it is a person I am not as close with, I try to offer an open ear, a shoulder to cry on or possibly a reassuring hug because everybody is fighting some sort of battle. A little compassion can go a long way.

Because I have been lost in the dark, I can help spread the light.

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As I said before, the darkness of depression completely drowns out any speck of light. I have heard many people describe depression as the feeling of a big, dark mass surrounding and wrapping itself around them. It can cause them to feel as if they are suffocating, while simultaneously sucking every ounce of happiness, leaving them feeling numb, hopeless or angry. When you are able to hold onto your ball of light, you are able to fight the darkness easier. When people lose that light, I do my best to share my own and guide them through darkness. So many struggle alone, and I feel the best thing I can do is use my experience to try and help others. I have become extremely open about my struggles for the sole fact that doing so may help others who are silently struggling to come forward and seek help.

Because depression destroys all happiness, I greatly appreciate smaller moments of joy.

When living with depression, feelings of happiness can be hard to come by. Things that once used to make you smile don’t seem to affect you anymore. Finding things that make you happy seems almost impossible. When my light is more powerful than my darkness, I am able to smile at the smallest things. A child’s joyous laughter, the warmth of the sun on my skin, witnessing the smallest act of kindness between two strangers; such small things can often go unnoticed, but they bring a smile to my face. You could say I’m seeing the world through rose-colored glasses. In these moments, I have the greatest hope, when I feel like everything can and will eventually be OK. I love wearing my rose-colored glasses because at those times I feel invincible from the darkness.

I know not everyone experiences these moments and feelings, and that is OK. Especially in the early stages of recovery, it is hard to believe there is any hope for tackling the demons in the mind. I am at the point with my illness where I openly accept my depression, knowing I may very well have to fight with it for the rest of my life. I now choose to find the good within the bad, the blessings within the struggles, the light within the dark.

I truly believe if it were not for my depression, I would not have as much compassion for others or be able to understand and sympathize as greatly as I do. I wouldn’t be able to achieve higher levels of happiness from smaller moments. Most of all, I hope to use my struggles to help educate those who do not understand mental illness. I want to inspire others struggling and help them realize there is hope, light, and they have every bit of strength needed to fight.

Please do not think you have to see things the same way as I do. We all bleed the same way, but the way we address our wounds varies. Perhaps you do not think depression has provided any positives to your life, which is totally understandable. Your fight and courage is still extremely admirable. I encourage everyone to try and find a positive in every negative situation. If you do not feel you are able to seek that, use your experience to help others. We are all in this fight together. I would love to share some light with each and every one of you.

“The dance between darkness and light will always remain — the stars and the moon will always need the darkness to be seen, the darkness will just not be worth having without the moon and the stars.” ― C. JoyBell C.

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.


I first met you, Depression, in middle school, seventh grade. You were a stranger to me so I just let you walk on by. I never thought I would meet you again, but I did in high school. You were still a stranger to me then and I refused to recognize you.

You were like my imaginary friend in my head who I couldn’t get rid of. I believed you when you told me cutting would make me feel alive and present. I believed you when you told me I am not loved and not worthy. With your judgmental words, I seek to be loved and to feel worthy through deteriorate ways and through everyone’s approvals except for my own.

Second year into my high school year, I followed you and fell into a spiral hole. I tried to hurt myself in hope to make you disappear. Somehow, I pulled myself up from that hole and left you there. I thought you would be stuck there for good, but you came to visit when I was vulnerable, when my family was broken and I didn’t have my parents with me.

This time you stayed longer, and I didn’t know how to get rid of you. So I got rid of you the only way I knew how, by masking and blocking you through smoking, drugs, alcohol and self-harm. You stayed longer this time. So I masked and blocked you longer. Soon enough, I didn’t even notice you were there. You somehow broke through my walls in 2011 and showed me a new you, a stronger you. I have not seen this side of you before and it took me by surprise.

You brought along a friend, anxiety. I desperately looked for help to battle not one but two of you. You and your friend made me feel even more alone and worthless than the second time you came around. Until I met a group of worthy friends that drove you both away. You retreated. Life was fine. Life was good. You would come here and there, but you would retreat.

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Little did I know, it was your plan all along to make me feel comfortable and think I may have you under control. Your voice made me feel ashamed of having you and your friend in my head. You told me people will leave if they know about you. I hid you just like how you wanted. I faked my smiles and pretended everything was OK. I continuously try to mask you and block you whenever you and your friend decide to step in with drugs. I thought I had you under control, but you were getting stronger and slowly winning the battle.

My friends and family did not have leverage anymore. You were stronger than their love for me. You were stronger than any love for me. I felt your ambush coming sometime in October 2015. I thought I can mask you some more, but you consumed me whole in December. What used to be only a week long or an entire month, became two, then three months.

I have lost control. I became you and you controlled me. On the night of December 29th, I wanted to surrender. My will to live was vanished. You burned my hope and vision of tomorrow. You made me believe I cannot be loved. You made me believe I was not enough. You made me believe everyone will forget me over time. You made me believe I did not matter. You made me believe this is what I wanted.

Somehow, whatever light left inside of me, the real me, sparkled at the very last moment and told me to keep fighting, to live. So I did. It was a constant uphill battle between then and now. You would play your false visions of me leaving this world as an answer. There are times when I think you would win. There are times when I just wanted you to win, but I kept fighting with help and support.

I cannot make you and your friend go away or your voice. You will come occasionally. Sometimes stronger and sometimes not, but I will not give up. I accept you may be a part of me, but you are not me. Your scars and bullet holes may be a part of me, but you are not.

I have hope and you don’t. I have love and you don’t. I have family and friends and you don’t. You will no longer be masked through my dishonesty and drugs. I recognize and accept you. I will do what it takes to know you and not mask you. I will not hide but be honest about you. I will no longer feed you. I am going to allow the love I choose to receive from myself, my family and friends to suppress and starve you. I am going to see tomorrow and I am going to fight every day, day by day. For me, for my family, for my friends, for hope, for tomorrow.

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.

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