Image of a woman brushing her hair

Katelyn Marie Todd Shares Facebook Post About Self-Care and Depression


Depression can manifest in different ways, depending on the person. On Saturday, Katelyn Marie Todd, a young woman living with depression, shared her experience living with mental illness in a poignant Facebook post thousands have related to.

“I brushed my hair today. For the first time in 4 weeks,” Todd shared in her post. “It was matted and twisted together. It snapped and tore with every stroke. I cried while I washed and conditioned it, because I forgot how it felt to run my fingers through it.”

Beyond illustrating how depression can affect your ability to take care of yourself, Todd also uses the post to explain how depression can change the personal, social and emotional aspects of your life.

Depression isn’t beautiful. Depression is bad hygiene, dirty dishes, and a sore body from sleeping too much. Depression is having 3 friends that are only still around because they have the patience and love of a saint. Depression is crying until there’s no more tears, just dry heaving and sobbing until you’re gasping for your next breath. Depression is staring at the ceiling until your eyes burn because you forget to blink. Depression is making your family cry because they think you don’t love them anymore when you’re distant and distracted. Depression is somatic as well as emotional, an emptiness you can physically feel.

In less than four days, Todd’s post has been shared more than 242,000 times with thousands of people commenting, thanking Todd for her honesty and sharing their own experiences living with depression.

“Depression is a disease that can consume you so much,” one commenter shared on Todd’s post. “I rarely get out of bed staring at the same walls day in & out ppl say you’ll be ok, snap out of it, it’s not that easy it’s just like grieving but you don’t know what for.”

“I’ve been here many many times,” another shared. “Thank you for sharing this. Many people with depression also have so much guilt for abandoning the ones they love. This information is so important.”

Todd isn’t the only one to highlight how difficult self-care can be for people living with depression. In March, hair stylist Kate Langman shared a photo of a client who hadn’t taken care of her hair in six months due to depression. “I didn’t share the post because of the transformation. I did it because I wanted people to see that depression is a real serious thing,” Langman previously told The Mighty.

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When Depression and Loneliness Always Walk by Your Side


Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

My eyes blink open to the start of a new day, and they are standing at the foot of my bed. I walk to the kitchen to get myself breakfast, and they are sitting at the table with me while I eat. I get ready in the bathroom, and they hang on my shoulders. I walk to work, and they follow. I go to bed at night, and they curl up next to me while I sleep.

They walk with me everywhere I go. At some points in my life, they have been in another room, on another block, or in a different town, but they are never too far away. At a moment’s notice, they can be back. Right next to me. Weighing me down. Fighting me. Tormenting me. Abusing me. Sometimes little to nothing will trigger their return.

They walk with me.

My depression has always felt like an entity which goes with me everywhere I go. It manipulates my movements, it whispers lies into my ear, it physically fights me. In the darkest moments of my depression, I felt out of my body, looking down at myself. I would see Depression assisting in my suicide attempts. I would see Loneliness curl up with me when I slept and whisper to me that no one would ever understand — that I would always be alone. They were there with me everywhere I went and controlled everything I did.

I’m in a different place now, in a healing place. I’m in a place where Depression and Loneliness can be gone for a while at a time, or at least not right next to me. Many years ago, at my lowest point, medication saved my life. It kicked this awful duo out of the country long enough for me to begin my journey to the other side of this disorder — to the side where I have more control, the side where I have tools (given by my wonderful therapist) to help keep them away for long enough to function, or at least long enough to get through the day.

Many days I feel like the battle I fight with them is a lost cause. Why keep fighting if they will always be there? But then there are days when I can’t find them anywhere, and I hold onto those. Those days I am given the will to keep going, to prepare for the next battle so I can win and win again.

Above all else, I have found that art has helped me through my journey with depression. Art in many different forms, but mostly film, theatre and music. I can remember sitting in my car the time I wanted to die, the time when living one more minute felt impossible, even though I fought for so long to stay for other people. And a song came on my playlist. “The Altar” by Nichole Nordeman. Her lyrics, “I’m at the end of myself. I’ve just dropped out of the running. I don’t recall when I last pulled the shades and said here comes the sun, here comes a new day. Someone remind me again, that joy might show up on occasion. Cause I’m sitting here with my hands on my head and my eyes on the ground, wondering if I’ll be found by you.” For a moment, I had some clarity. I cannot be the only one who’s felt this way, I thought. I guess I’m not completely alone. It’s amazing how art can do that for you.

I was inspired to write my film “They Walk With Me” because I knew that maybe if I shared my story — if I showed someone how depression takes shape in my life — they may feel like they are not alone. The film is a small glimpse into what it’s like to live with mental illness. My personal journey is depression, but it can be any illness. The disorder and its counterpart Loneliness have been personified. They walk around with the girl in the film, manipulating her movements, telling her lies and physically fighting her. But there is hope. There’s always hope. People need other people. My wish for this film is that someone who is dealing with a mental illness can see the power of reaching out and talking to someone. The power of asking for help.

Art saved my life. Maybe this film can save another life too.

Link to the full story behind the film and crowdfunding campaign here.

They Walk With Me Crowd Funding from Eisley Creative Co. on Vimeo.

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

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

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Side profile photo of young blonde woman looking depressed

Why I Learned to Hide My Depression From Everyone


I was always the happy one — the affectionate one, the kind one, the bubbly one full of energy and life. I was always the one who made an effort to make someone else smile.

I was, and I am, also the one with depression.

From the outside, I always seemed to have it together. I was warm and welcoming and always seemed to be a pillar of strength. Inside, however, I always felt empty and alone. I felt a sadness so deep and an unworthiness so rampant I didn’t feel as though I had the right or reason to live.

I was a fraud. I am a fraud.

How did I become such a great con artist? How is it that instead of owning this depression as an illness, I managed to go to such great lengths to hide it?

Shame — an all-consuming sense of shame. My parents always told me depression wasn’t real, that it was just an excuse for people who were lazy. They told me no one wanted to hear or see me cry, that being sad was not fair to everyone else — that being sad was a burden.

My parents taught me people just wanted to see the happy, kind, bubbly version of me. No one likes a girl who cries all the time.

So I adapted. I learned how to hide. I learned how to appear functioning, how to appear happy, because no one could love a sad, tormented woman.

I started working in hospitality, and that same mentality is at the very core of the service industry. No one wants to see a sad bartender or waitress. No one tips a waitress who is so empty inside they can’t smile. People want service with a smile. They want their drinks served with a side of banter and their food with a side of enthusiasm. They want to be able to abuse you for things that aren’t your fault and watch you smile as they do it.

So I adapted again. I learned how to hide, and boy was I good at it. I was great at my job, and no matter how empty or hollow or tired I was, I would go into my job and I could pretend to be happy for 6-8 hours. I could make people feel warm and welcomed, I could laugh at their jokes (even when they were terribly misogynistic and degrading) and I could give them service they would remember and come back for.

Hiding how I really felt day-in and day-out was acceptable. Deceiving everyone around me and conning people into believing I was always that happy, bubbly, energetic woman was OK. It didn’t matter I was a fraud because being a fraud made people feel more comfortable. My parents, my family, my friends, my colleagues, my customers – they all felt better believing I was that girl, and any “off” days were due to a lack of sleep or being a bit run down. I wanted to be that for them because the shame and guilt of burdening them with my depression made the idea of owning up to my depression so much worse.

So for those of you who say “But, you can’t be depressed/have depression because you are always so happy!” please know this: depression has no pattern, it has no rhyme or reason, it can take anyone at any time for any reason (or no reason) and that is OK. Don’t assume to know anyone from their surface encounters, because underneath it all we’re all fighting different battles and we all need to accept it is OK to admit it. I long for the day when we can say we have depression and anxiety without making other people uncomfortable, and a day where appearing to be happy is not the ultimate goal.

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Unsplash photo via Ross Sokolovski

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Why I Feel Broken After a Friend Called Me 'Insane'


Someone called me “insane” — someone who I would call a friend. She called me insane because she thought I responded irrationally. She told me people thought I was insane.

The fight was going fine until she called me insane. She ripped at my insides, and I felt my stomach drop. I felt a trigger I never thought I would experience because everything I had ever internalized about myself started coming to the front of my brain.

“You’re not enough. You are on medication, and you are ‘insane.’ Anxiety and depression are taking a hold of you, and they are making you annoying and worthless. What would happen if you weren’t here anymore? What would people think?”

The word “insane” sent a trigger through my spine that made me collapse a little bit inside. It made me internalize everything I advocate for when we talk about the stigma surrounding mental health, because anytime I have a breakdown, or an anxiety attack, I believe that’s the way people view me. I believe they see me as this empty, broken and “crazy” individual.

Don’t call me insane without knowing the implications of that word. We are taught in university to be careful of language, to understand the meaning surrounding language, yet these are the words that are too often used.

I’m stuck in a cycle of not knowing what I’m supposed to do. Should I sleep all day until I forget it all? Do I run away? Do I fight and stand up and tell people I’m not insane? Or do I truly start believing it?

Insane. Know the meanings, the implications and the consequences. And don’t call me that, because I might actually start to believe it.

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

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

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A woman taking a mirror selfie

The Anxiety and Depression It's Easy to Hide in a Selfie


I took this picture about five hours before I attempted suicide.

A woman taking a mirror selfie You might find that hard to believe because well, look at me. I look happy. I look fine. But I was far from that. Struggling with depression and anxiety is extremely difficult. It’s even more difficult when you’re struggling in silence. I never talked to anyone about it. I didn’t want to be judged or feel like a burden. Most days it was hard getting out of bed, taking a shower or even brushing my hair. I felt exhausted all the time. I felt overwhelmed. I felt like I was drowning. After all, you don’t need water to feel like you’re drowning. I went to the extreme by doing something I regret doing, but I got the help I desperately needed. I’m no longer scared to reach out to people or talk about my depression and anxiety. I don’t have to struggle in silence anymore. Mental illnesses are nothing to be ashamed of.

I’m baffled that some people think of suicide as a “selfish act.”Dealing with thoughts of suicide is brutal. We are not selfish for being tired of the madness in our mind.

To anybody struggling: I promise you it does get better. It may take months, but recovery is so worth it! Bad days are going to happen no matter what but you have to push through them. The bad days will make you appreciate the good days so much more. Stay strong — there’s sunshine after rain.

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

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

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Frustrated Woman Driving a Car

To the Co-Worker Who Questioned My Answer to 'How Are You?'


You may not remember this. It was probably an insignificant interaction from your perspective, but I remember it like it was yesterday, and I’ll probably never forget it. We no longer work together, and because of the horrible place I was falling into, I was never able to properly thank you for what you did that day.

I don’t remember specifically what day, or month for that matter, this happened. I just remember I was having a bad morning. I don’t remember all the details of what led up to this, but I am sure I cried heavily in the shower while getting ready for work.

As I walked the short distance from my car to our office building, I was dreading going to work. I wanted to call in sick and go home and cry. Not for any particular reason. My body just wanted to cry.

It was a bright spring morning, but I didn’t really notice. I didn’t really notice the sunny or gloomy days at all at that point because they all felt the same to me. The Transitions lenses in my glasses had probably turn their darkest shade, so I’m sure you couldn’t see in my eyes that I had been close to tears on my drive to work. I was in the process of calming myself down and trying to turn my mind from the immense sadness in my heart to work stuff, when you came out the back door towards me.

You said, “Good morning. How are you?”

You likely meant it to be that quick greeting everyone does when they say hi to a person they know, and I responded in my usual manner: “I’m all right, how are you?”

For some reason, you noticed something no one else has ever, ever noticed — something that made you respond the way you did, maybe partly in a teasing way at first but also kind of serious. I will never forget your response.

As we passed each other, you turned around and said, “Are you lying to me?”

I stopped dead in my tracks and turned back to face you. I didn’t know what to do. I was caught completely off guard. No one had ever, not in my entire life, ever questioned me on my response to the simple greeting people give every day without stopping to think about it.

Those few seconds felt like an eternity, but I remembered we had previously had a few conversations about depression and anxiety, so I knew you understood. Even knowing in that moment that I could trust you and talk to you about what was going on, the fact that I was on my way into the office terrified me and I felt the tears welling up in my eyes. I knew if I told you the truth, I would begin crying heavily, and I felt as though if I allowed that to happen, I would never be able to stop.

So, I simply said, “You probably don’t want to know the answer to that.”

You gave me a look that told me you understood exactly what I was saying, no question about it. You saw I wasn’t prepared to talk about it in that moment.

I hid my face beneath my hair for the first half hour or so I was in the office in attempt to conceal, from the rest of the office, the fact that I was trying not to cry. The entire day, I could not stop thinking about our earlier interaction. I wanted to talk to you so badly. I wanted to talk to anyone, but I knew you would understand. I also knew I would cry, and I just couldn’t allow myself to do that that day. I felt like I was losing control of my emotions and if I let go even for a second, I would lose every ounce of control I had left.

What you didn’t know on that particular day, and I honestly didn’t even realize myself until several months later, is that I was in the beginning stages of what would turn out to be the worst major depressive episode I have ever experienced.

Several months later, in the summer, you left our company. I don’t think I have ever been so sad to see a co-worker leave. Something about having you in the office made me feel safe, and when you left, that safeness left with you. That feeling lasted for a couple weeks. I still find myself wishing you were there to talk to.

The month after you left, the severity of my depression peaked and I came very close to checking myself into the hospital due to the severity of my suicidal ideation. I was able to open up to one of our co-workers which ultimately led reducing my hours and workload so my doctor and I could work on finding the right medication and I could take care of myself. It’s still an ongoing process, but things are starting to get better.

As I begin to feel more like myself again, I am finding I am thinking about our interaction that sunny morning back in the spring quite frequently and wishing I could have said a proper thank you to you for actually caring. Although I know others do care, I have never had anyone outside of my treatment team show me they care about my mental well-being without some sort of prompting. I wish you knew how much I appreciated this small action you took, even though it may not have seemed like much at the time.

Thank you!

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

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.

Follow this journey on Inner Battle.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo by bokan76

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