I have always grown up as a happy person. I have always been the one with laughter, a smile; the one to bring the energy into the room and infect everyone with happiness. So, when I started seeing a psychologist and was diagnosed with “mild depression” it hit me hard. I had only been going because I had lost someone I cared for about a year ago. Yet, even with all the time that had passed, I found myself diving deep into sadness. I would feel overwhelmed with simple emotions, and I would blow things out of proportion because they would trigger something in me that was much more complicated. Anger and frustration turned into sadness. I just felt sad. I never thought I’d be someone who would get depressed. I never thought I’d experience finding myself preferring to be home alone rather than out with friends like I always did. But, being the person I was, doesn’t seem to help me in being the person I need to be: someone who is comfortable in their sadness.
I can’t say that I am. It’s awkward and difficult to navigate. I often battle with being the previous version of myself, and pleasing everyone, seeming okay, putting on a smile and saying “I’m okay” whenever someone asks me.
“Crying isn’t a sign of weakness.”
“It’s okay to be sad.”
“Just because you’re crying doesn’t mean you’re less strong.”
But it’s not that simple.
It’s hard to see myself in this person: someone who is allowed to feel sadness (it doesn’t make me weak) and to show emotion in this foreign way (it’s alright to cry). It’s shown to be an uphill battle. I feel myself forcing my emotions to get it together just, so I can be who I want to be. Someone who doesn’t let their sadness consume them.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and I thought it would be prudent to share my story. Especially when in this situation I have forced myself to keep quiet, so I wouldn’t “inconvenience” people or let them see me as anything else other than being happy all the time.
With this, I want to let it be known that whatever anyone is going through, doesn’t define them. It’s simply a part of who you are, a part that we should work on integrating it into our daily lives as seamlessly as possible because ignoring it or pushing it away will not solve anything. Talk with a friend, a professional, let your parents know, your immediate people, the people you care about. No one should go through anything alone, and as much as we feel like shutting everyone out, that brings nothing but more rain to a storm that’s already passing through.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline, (800) 950-NAMI (6264); text NAMI to 741741: This helpline can answer questions about mental health, treatment, and local support groups. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org.