It's been forever since I've written anything. I was about to get into bed tonight when I realized I couldn't. I needed to sit, gather my thoughts and put them down on (digital) paper. It's the therapy I so desperately need, but can never justify the time for.
As most of you probably know, I have major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety, and panic disorder. Basically lots of fancy names to tell you I'm a bundle of unhappy that's terrified of pretty much everything. I've learned to embrace it and make fun of it. I've been very open with it and I've found most people can empathize or relate. I'm also grateful to the support system I've built that helps me navigate the bad days.
But, the one thing I couldn't survive without is medication. All the love, encouraging words, and hugs could not fix the thing in me that is broken. The simple truth is my body doesn't produce enough serotonin for me to be a functional human. I literally cannot get out of bed without it. I need it to live the same way a diabetic needs insulin.
Does this make me sound like a drug addict? Does this make me sound like someone who is lazy? Does this make me sound like a sheep of corporate America? Does this make me sound like some whining millennial who needs to be a special snowflake?
These are the things I hear. I hear them constantly. From media, news stories, tv shows, and other people. It makes me sick, because I am sick. Without this medication I am sick.
The numbers and the statistics around depression are staggering. Yet, we continue to treat it as a made up illness or sign of weakness. We need to think of it as a cause of death. Suicide is the leading cause of death in teens and young adults. But, it doesn't need to be.
Stop shaming. Stop downplaying. Stop hiding. Depression is one scary SOB and we need to talk about it the way we talk about things like cancer. Share our stories, our battles. Share the moments we are at our worst. They are ugly and painful, but they are real. The treatments to help you live with depression are out there and they work. It's not a one size fits all deal and you have to find what works for you. Counseling, medication, therapy, yoga, exercise, meditation, and so on. Don't judge and don't pretend it isn't real.