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What Does Someone With Depression Look Like?

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Someone with depression looks like this photo. There are no sad, dramatic pictures. There are no woeful images of a young person looking out a window like you see in the films. It is this.

Depression is an invisible mask. It is something that you can’t define by the way that people look. It just eats you up from the inside out and for me, anything positive in my life turned into a negative. I was completely my own worst enemy. It’s like a monster inside your head that takes over. It was exhausting, tiring and bewildering. The worst thing is that I was surrounded by so many wonderful people in my life, yet I still felt so lonely.

I knew I needed help for a long time before I got the courage to ask. But asking for it made me feel like a burden. I had already had so much going on physically, so I felt ashamed to say that my mental health was deteriorating, too. I felt the treatment I would receive for my chronic illnesses would suffer and by admitting I needed help, it meant I would be giving in to these chronic and painful conditions. I had always prided myself in “being positive,” but admitting I had depression meant my positivity would be gone.

I suffered for years in silence without telling anyone how I felt. I just told myself to pull myself together and that it was normal for me to feel this way with everything I was going through. It got to the point where I felt as if I had lost myself. I felt like I was just surviving rather than living. Despite my physical health taking steps in the right direction, my mental health just continued to get worse. From the moment I came home from college, I would just burst into tears and cry for hours for no reason. My eating and sleep were affected, and the stress of studying as well as adjusting to moving back home after dropping out of university just became too much. I felt like I let my disability win by admitting that it was physically too much for me to go to university and I needed to use a wheelchair again. I had no motivation to do anything because I couldn’t see a future for myself.

About a year ago, I went on medication for it and it was one of the best things I have ever done. I no longer see my life as simply trying to get through each day, but I look forward to the future. I have embraced my disability and fully accepted myself for who I am. I don’t want others to go through what I did.  There is so much pressure on young people to have their life figured out, but it doesn’t work like that. We cannot change our circumstances, but we can change the way we deal with it. Don’t get me wrong, I have my bad days where I wish things were different, but I have achieved so much since I changed my outlook and I have come out the other side a lot stronger.

My advice for anyone who is struggling with mental health would be don’t keep quiet. Speak up and tell others how you are feeling. Don’t suffer in silence with this awful condition. You can only get help with how you are feeling if you let someone know. Chances are, someone you know is suffering from depression. If you broke your leg, wouldn’t you go to the doctors? So why not do the same with your depression?

Depression made believe I was worthless and everyone hated me. It made me believe that I would never achieve anything and everyone in my life would be better off without me, but I didn’t let the bully in my mind win.

Originally published: December 15, 2018
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