Depression is a real thing. It is more talked about lately than ever before, and the negative stigma surrounding finally appears to be lifting. It is no longer a taboo topic, and it is openly discussed.
I remember when I was first diagnosed with depression, my father immediately shushed me like I’d said a bad word. “Don’t tell people,” he would say. I felt a bit of shame along with the depression, which brought on anxiety. It was an evil cycle.
Depression runs heavily in my family, but it is not something they have ever really talked about.
There have been secret (Well, not secret NOW, since I’m currently telling the world) trips by my grandmother and aunt to recovery centers for depression. There are instances where depression medication was slipped into coffee because family members refused to take their pills. They thought taking the pills voluntarily meant they were less of a “man.” There have been mental breakdowns that have been figuratively swept under the rug, and aren’t talked about.
But, you know what, I struggle with depression sometimes, and it’s okay.
The good news (Well, good news for me. Not so much for others.) is that a lot of other people struggle as well. There are stories in the media almost everyday about a celebrity that has fallen to their depression struggles.
Just today, a story came out in the news about the struggle of Justin Bieber. One would think HE HAS IT ALL, he CAN’T be depressed!! Wrong.
He told the world, via social media, that he is struggling, and asked his fans to pray for him. According to Bieber, this is not his first time struggling with depression; he goes through phases, much like countless others in normal society.
There are MANY other celebrities out there who also struggle. Unfortunately that struggle often leads to tragedy.
Within the last few years, we have lost beloved celebrities to this awful condition.
So, what can you do?
If you are experiencing depression or anxiety, TALK TO SOMEONE. This could be a doctor, a counselor, a friend (They are probably experiencing it on some level too!), a family member, a trusted teacher, you could even anonymously talk about it on social media groups. You’ll find you aren’t alone!
Don’t close yourself off, even though that is your first instinct and desire. Make yourself reach out, however difficult it might feel.
What can you do if a friend is showing signs of depression?
Don’t just leave them to deal with it on their own! Intentionally communicate with them. A call, a text, a message, any way of reaching out is crucial. They are not in the frame of mind to deal with it on their own.
If they insist on secluding themselves, offer to do things for them. Offer to watch children, buy them a pizza for dinner one night, do laundry for them (Don’t “offer,” because they WILL say “no”). Let them bury themselves in a blanket cocoon, and just stay with them.
Don’t be rude, but sometimes a little push or annoyance is okay. Checking in frequently is okay. Sometimes just being present with them is okay.
Remember, you are NOT alone, as cliche as that sounds. There are always people there to lend a listening ear or jump in and physically help if that’s what you need.