Depression Is A Silent Killer: Talking Saves Lives

Depression is a silent killer. Why? The culture we have created as a community of people has put a negative stigma around the term, “mental illness.” This has caused us to unintentionally react distastefully when people reach out or mention their battle. Instead of cheering people on and providing support, a lot of us pull away and refer to that person as “crazy.” Sometimes, we just yell that they need help. Of course, they need help, we all need help and support sometimes. Mental illness is something we all are vulnerable to, and if you think you aren’t, you are in denial. Therapy, counseling or other avenues of support and help, are all common. Going to therapy does not make you weird. Therapy is normal. A LOT of people go to therapy. And, if you shame someone for going to therapy, please go to therapy. Therapy is not just for people suffering, it’s also preventative. Mental wellness is very important whether you are suffering, in recovery, or just living your life. We are not always able to process everything going on in our lives on our own. There is no shame in talking to someone to help guide you through tough times. Suffering with a mental illness or knowing someone who suffers with a mental illness is not something to be ashamed of.

In case you didn’t know this, anxiety and ADHD are both examples of other types of very common mental illness. Chances are you or someone you know has these disorders. It doesn’t make them weak; it doesn’t make you weak; and it doesn’t make me weak.  Mental illness cannot fit into a box, it ranges from mood disorders to personality disorders to attention disorders to substance abuse, etc. And mental illness looks different on everyone. Sometimes, you can see someone is suffering and other times, you wouldn’t be able to tell. We need to stop putting mental illness into a box with this negative connotation that people are “mentally disturbed” or “insane” or “weird.”

I’m so tired of people feeling embarrassed for suffering. You should NEVER be ashamed of your mental health. I tell people all the time about my story, my battle, AND my recovery.

Hi, I’m Francesca. I suffer with severe depression and anxiety, but I am working through it in therapy. I focus on my mental wellness and learning new coping mechanisms to help me feel strong and not give in to the dark thoughts I somethings have.

If that makes you uncomfortable, then you are part of the problem. If you feel ashamed to know someone who actively tells people about their battle or who suffers in general, you are part of the problem. We need to stop contributing to the negative stigma around mental illness. People kill themselves because they feel the weight of the world on their shoulders, and they have to carry it alone. STOP allowing people to suffer in silence and alone. STOP encouraging the silence by refusing to be part of the conversation. This is your chance to help someone, so speak up. If you have suffered or if you haven’t, let people around you know that you are there for them. And then, when they call on you for that support, be there for them. Open the conversation, validate their feelings, help them process it. I know I cannot speak for all of you, but as for me, I’d rather open the conversation now then ask myself later why I didn’t know they were suffering or why they didn’t reach out for help.

Mental illness is not a joke. Mental illness is not an emotion. Mental illness is not something you just recover from. It takes a lot of time, energy and work to get through mental illness. Mental illness does not define you. Mental illness is not uncommon. Mental illness is not something to be ashamed of. Mental illness is not something to be quiet about.

Talking saves lives. Start the conversation BEFORE it’s too late.

 

originally published 04.20.20

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