Saturday, October 22, 2011

letting go of the shame of depression.

Most people I know are uncomfortable talking about depression (theirs or mine). With all of the teen suicides in the news as of late, I think that we need to get over ourselves and talk about the hard stuff. While bullying may have been the catalyst of what brought these teens to the breaking point, it was depression that actually caused them to take their own lives.

Admitting to being sad about something is one thing. But truly copping to suffering from depression is like laying every personal weakness out on a table for all to see and letting people stand and judge you. It’s even worse when you are someone who people think is really together, tough, and able to handle whatever comes her way. Once they get over the shock that you are depressed, people often feel duped. If they had the guts to say it out loud, they’d say “So, all of this time, you’ve been pretending to be happy, but you’re just a big liar”. And to that I would answer, it’s actually a little of a) and a little of b). I pretend to be happy in an attempt to make you more comfortable and to trick myself into not being depressed. It sort of works, up to a point.

Depression is an ugly disease. And because it is so misunderstood, those who suffer from it often feel tremendous shame. Depression makes me lazy and selfish, throws a grey blanket over my universe and warps everything good in my life into something I don’t deserve. That’s why it’s so important to talk about depression. If we would all just talk about it, let go of our shame, the tolerance and acceptance would be more effective than all of the medication in the world. Which is not to say we don’t need medication, but you catch my drift.

There are days when all I can think about is how badly I want to get back into bed and sleep. Not because I’m physically tired, but because the world is just too overwhelming. I typically try to hide this from those I don’t know well, but I have started being candid with the people I am closest with. Even though there is nothing they can do to “fix” me, at least they know that I’m struggling. They can give me a hug, squeeze my hand, or even just say, “I’m sorry you are feeling so sad. Let me know what I can do to help”. It’s also important to let people in on how you’re feeling because it’s easy for others to take you being down or sad personally, as if they have somehow caused it. By letting them know you are going through a rough patch, they can help you turn your day around, instead of worrying that they have done something to cause your sadness.

I say all of this not to make you feel sorry for me, but to help those who also suffer from depression. Reach out to those around you. Go to your doctor and ask for help. Talk to a professional. Feeling sad all of the time is not normal. You don’t have to live each day wishing for it to “just be over already”. Life is too short to spend it feeling bad. Let go of the shame.


  1. Very well said and so true. Thank you. The more we talk about depression, the more (I hope) people will be able to get the help they need, like I did.

  2. Absolutely. Recently I went to my family doctor about anxiety and sleeplessness, and he prescribed me a mild anti-depressent. At first I was angry with myself, because I had vowed never to take medication like this again, but a month later, I'm feeling better. I'm sleeping better, and my heart is not pounding like crazy. I'm allowing the medication to help me.

  3. Hi there,
    I’m the person who actually took this picture . The posters were hanging up on campus (at The University of Texas), and each slip had the words “you are loved” written on the back. The girl who made them ( was in a dark place of her own at the time, and wanted to remind people that no matter how bad things may seem, there IS hope.