Never Feel Ashamed of Your Depression

 

When I was in high school, I was diagnosed with clinical depression. Even after hearing the doctor say those words to me, I refused to believe her. I resisted therapy and while I did try medication, I did not stay on it for very long. I thought giving in to any treatment meant that I was weak. I thought that by ignoring the exhaustion, the binge-eating and the oversleeping, I would magically fix myself.

The problem with my self-cure plan is that I thought I could handle it all on my own. Even on days when I felt like I was drowning, I refused to reach out for help. In my head, I wouldn’t even acknowledge that I had depression. I instead blamed it on myself for being too lazy, too stupid, too fat-- creating a vicious and devastating cycle that damaged my mental, emotional and physical health.

I moved away from my home town to start over, but when I was half way through my first semester, I realized nothing had fixed itself. The amount of pressure on me mixed with utter exhaustion of everything was immeasurable. It was only then that I reached out to an on-campus counselor.

I’m not saying medication and a therapy are the only way to fight your depression. I am saying, though, that you are the only one that can start the battle for your mental health. If I hadn’t taken control of what was happening to me, I’m sure I would have dropped out of school already.

I created my own safety net, filled with friends, family, a therapist and even an emotional support cat. On days that I am too tired to fight, they all fight for me and help me recharge. They remind me that I am not alone and that I am strong enough to keep getting up in the mornings.

It’s time to let go of the fear of rejection. It’s time to admit that it’s okay to struggle, and it’s okay to reach out to someone when you do. Be open and honest with yourself and your therapist/medical practitioner. Depression is a real illness, and hiding it away behind closed doors has proven over and over again to be harmful.

Fight against the part of your depression that tells you no one will listen, or that it would be too weird or scary to talk so openly about it. Remind yourself that you are worth taking care of. Take the time to learn what that means to you. Does it mean stopping the toxic thoughts that stream through your head all day? Does it mean talking to your doctor/therapist/parents? Does it mean opening the windows in your bedroom? Does it mean allowing yourself to get up and take that shower?

In the words of a great counselor I will forever be grateful for: “You are worth every square inch of space you take up.”