To the Little Ones Who Might Not Understand My Depression

Dear Little One,

I get sad sometimes. Sadder than when somebody you love lets you down.

Once upon a time, I was so sad that I had to go somewhere. Somewhere where people like me and people different from me “get better.” Only, I don’t like to say “get better.” It feels a lot like saying I am an action figure amidst the abyss of the toy box that will never play again without new batteries. And “getting better” will always linger along the seashore of being bad again; that there is room for the waves to wash you away again.

Instead, I like to say we are “learning how to understand.” When you understand something, like how to subtract numbers or how to ride the bicycle the holiday season gifted to you, you become friends with it. You see it — it’s eccentricities, how it works and doesn’t, and how to calm the storm when it gets mad. Even if that means standing up for yourself.

Most importantly, I don’t want you to be afraid of me, or the people like me and the people different from me. Because we are good. We are bright, and we are humorous, and we are artistic. We read and we write and we engineer. We love and we desire and we destroy.

Above all, we are lionhearted. We take care of one another the minute we walk through those locked doors, pamphlets and brown paper bag wrapped tightly in our arms. And we don’t stop loving each other just because we leave.

The next time you or somebody you cherish gets sad, whether it’s again or for the first time, please remember we do not end or begin when we are told. We end or begin when we decide. And I decide to begin.

You will, too.


A Friend

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

Getty image via LumineImages

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

Related to Depression

Unusual artistic effect of a man disappearing into thin air

No, Depression Isn't Just a 'Phase'

This piece was written by James Paul, a Thought Catalog contributor. That’s right. To those out there who may not have experienced depression or have known someone who has, please take the next two minutes to read this. If not for you, for someone you care about. — Depression is real. It is a consistent, invisible [...]
A faded photo of a woman. Text reads 10 'Bad Habits' of People With Depression

10 'Bad Habits' of People With Depression

When we’re depressed, many of the habits we develop come down to survival. We might need to spend all day in bed if we want to even consider going to work the next day. We might need to skip that party we promised we’d go to, because we need a night to focus on ourselves. [...]

Being Depressed Doesn't Mean I Stopped Loving You

Family and friends can be really supportive when you struggle with mental illness, but they can also have trouble understanding it. Living with bipolar disorder, I have lots of ups and downs and I have trouble controlling them even with medication. So I often face some episodes of deep depression. This is something my family and friends [...]

18 'Selfish' Things People Don't Realize You're Doing Because You're Depressed

When you live with depression, you often become aware of the harmful and unfair labels given to those who are struggling. Labels like “lazy” or “attention-seeking” — or perhaps more commonly: “selfish.” Maybe you cancel on plans because you’re struggling so much, you can’t even get out of bed. Maybe you don’t want to have kids, [...]