Depression. Often for many, depression is a hidden, quiet form of suffering. Depression is one of those mental health challenges that can be easily hidden. It can appear to others the depressed is just mellow, or a little sad. It is not always noticeable how much the depressed person lives “in the dark”. How much the depressed person cries themselves to sleep at night. How many times a day the depressed person drops to their knees in a fetal position sobbing uncontrollably, as if some invisible person just sucker punched them in their gut unexpectedly. The secret side of depression makes it one of the most high risk mental health conditions because it is the gateway to more severe conditions such as substance abuse, self-harm, and even suicide.
I should know because I am on the front line fighting depression daily. Not because I am a marriage & family therapist, but because depression visits me quite often. I have become so good at hiding depression in response to those around me who think it doesn’t “make sense” for me to be depressed. Depression has no respect of person and how a person’s life appears at face value is not an automatic barrier against depression. I am a strong, courageous, independent person and always have been. I take risks. I make things happen. I give it my all. I work hard….And I also crash. I get weak. I get tired of getting wounded in battle. I suffer emotionally in ways that strips me down to nothing but an empty shell. No one notices or maybe no one cares because I’m not “supposed” to be depressed.
In this moment, as I write these words, I am exposing depression in a way that weakens its stronghold over my emotions. Depression thrives in secrecy. Depression thrives in isolation. I have uncovered its hiding spot in my heart and broken the rule of secrecy in hopes of dismantling its power in my life and the lives of others. Hey you, the person suffering from depression. I want you to know…I understand.