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10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Was Diagnosed With Depression

Mental illness, depression, anxiety.

Those three things all have something in common. At least to me they do. I’d always considered them dirty words growing up. Nobody talked about them and it was as if they never existed. So when feelings of despair, loneliness and depression came around and decided to stay, I didn’t know it was normal.

Here’s the thing. Those words aren’t dirty. They aren’t even close. 350 million people around the world struggle with depression and there are even more when you think about the undiagnosed cases, the teenagers whose parents don’t believe in depression and the children whose parents think they are too young to even know about depression, let alone have it.

I wrote this list for those of us who struggle, those of us who have overcome, those of us who are scared and those of us who where just diagnosed and don’t know what life holds. You are why I wrote this list. We all experience these feelings differently and it’s not the same for everyone, but I hope this list can help.

1. You will make hard choices.

Always make sure you choose the right decision for you, not for someone else or to make someone else happy.

2. There will be days when you won’t get out of bed and that’s OK.

When the world around you is crashing down, it is OK to take a day and focus on yourself.

3. You might have moments when suicide seems like the only way out.

I promise you it’s not. Life gets better, you get stronger and you learn how to live.

4. It’s OK to want to be alone.

Having depression can take everything from you including your energy. It’s OK to need time alone to “recharge.”

5. You will feel like you are alone sometimes, but you aren’t.

There are other people who are struggling just like you. Find them, talk to them, survive with them.

6. People won’t always understand what you are going though.

Explain to them what depression is and how it affects you.

7. Find someone you can talk to.

Whether it’s a friend, a family member, a professional or someone who is going though the same thing as you, find someone you can trust to talk to.

8. It’s OK to cry.

You aren’t weak, you aren’t a cry baby, you are a human with emotions and bottling those emotions up is never a good idea. So please cry. Take a few minutes and let it out.

9. Some people might leave.

Those people who leave weren’t meant to be your friend. Find friends who support you and understand your depression does not make you a freak, it does not make you weak and it does not define who you are as a person.

10. Just because you aren’t depressed 24/7 doesn’t mean you are faking it.

You can still be happy and struggle with depression. Being happy doesn’t mean you are a faker, it means you are fighter.

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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