Depression is a silent killer. And it is taking thousands of lives.
Why is depression the silent killer you may ask? Because we don’t believe in it.
Unfortunately, many believe ‘depression’ to be a taboo, much like a boogeyman under the bed or a monster in the closet, we don’t believe it exists.
We live in a visual world. We like to see to believe.
The idea that money can wash away sadness or that behind a smiling face isn’t a world of pain, got shattered by the suicides of recent celebrities. The shocking news of Kate Spade’s and Anthony Bourdain’s deaths may have felt personal to many of us, even though we had no direct relationship with them. Their deaths may have also reminded many of us about friends and loved ones whom we have lost to suicide, and to some of us it felt so personal because we are dealing with the same demons and we have also contemplated ‘suicide’.
I’ve thought a lot about this period following the suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, two people who by public appearances ‘seemed’ to be living their best lives, but no one knew what was going on inside their minds.
I wish more people understood that depression isn’t the ‘Monday morning blues’ or having a ‘down day’ or just ‘being sad’. Depression is much more complex than that, whether mild or major, is a pervasive, potentially serious illness.
Depression has a significant impact on day-to-day living. Severe, major depression can completely immobilize a person, even causing a complete withdrawal from daily living–or a withdrawal from actual living, and it some unfortunate cases it leads to suicide.
I have been suffering from depression myself since I was a teenager, and I can tell you that being depressed is one of the worst pains I’ve ever felt.
Depression is worse than physical pain. When you have an injury, when you are sick or have a cold, you can go to the emergency room quickly and get treated to feel better, however with depression is not that simple. When I am depressed I feel like nothing could positively make my pain go away.
When someone commits suicide is not because they were ‘weak’, ‘selfish’ or because they took the ‘easy way out’. What a lot of people don’t understand is that a person contemplating suicide is in overwhelming emotional pain and they think very differently than people who are rational. They are in so much pain that suicide seems like the best way to end the pain. They think, maybe my afterlife will be better. And most of these people are battling in silence because they are embarrassed by their condition. They think that something is wrong with them personally because they are depressed. This needs to change.
Depression is a silent killer, is a terrible, horrible, insidious disease that makes many feels nothing but despair. This silent killer robs people’s joy, happiness and it convinces them that they have nothing left to live for.
It’s very hard for many to understand how debilitating and awful this disease is, no matter how many times they say they understand, we must understand that they do not whatsoever unless they have experienced it themselves.
We need to talk more about mental health, we need to realize how serious depression really is.
We need to see that depression a serious DISEASE that kills people every day, and every day is stealing people we love from us.
We need to realize that ‘appearances’ lie, somebody may appear to be positive and happy, but inside, something is eating them away. And it’s not something one cannot simply snap out of, it’s not something one can understand unless they too have suffered by the same hand.
Those who suffer the most often go unseen and unnoticed, because people suffering from depression don’t wear a cast or plaster, they don’t require bandages, they don’t go bald, and they don’t physically bleed, but they bleed from the inside.
People need to understand that even though you can’t physically see the pain, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, with depression, the pain is on the inside, you feel it deep in your bones. Someone can look completely normal on the outside but could be going through absolute hell and meltdown on the inside.
We need to be a society where those with mental health issues feel confident enough to come forward and discuss their problems, rather than being blamed for either being weak or faithless. Ignoring the seriousness of mental illness simply abandons those suffering from it to lonely, awful lives.
If you know someone suffering from depression, know that support is crucial to helping them with their battle: validating their feelings and thoughts, letting them know that they are cared for and loved, being there to just simply listen, and gently encouraging them to get help from a professional.
If you are someone like me that struggles with depression, just know you are not alone. Although I still feel the direct wrath of depression each and every day, I am a strong woman who will push through, and I believe everyone else can too, but what we need is strength and to have faith in ourselves.
Yes, some days I still feel the urge to lay in bed and sleep all day. Some days I just want to be alone and lay in the dark. Some days, I question my own existence. Yes, I still cry randomly and hide from everyone, so they don’t see my tears. Some days, I wish I was pain-free, but despite it all, I am still trying to survive, I am still trying to make it through every day. And most importantly I have learned to accept the fact that some people will just never understand, and that’s okay.
We need to raise awareness that depression is a silent killer.
We must treat everybody with kindness, respect, understanding, and love.
We must reach out to others with no judgment and let them know that someone cares and that they are never alone. They need empathy, kindness, support, somebody to stick with them through all the tough times. By simply being there for them can guide them in the right direction.
Sometimes, the smallest act of kindness and reaching out can pull them back from the deep end, just a little.
Sometimes, the smallest act of kindness can go a long way.
Sometimes just one loving person is all it takes to save someone’s life.
Be that person, be that support.
Be aware and care.
If you know someone who is struggling, be their advocate and take them to get help. If you’re feeling suicidal, in the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Or text 741741 to text anonymously with a crisis counselor.