I have depression, and I am finally breaking free. I was never diagnosed with it by a medical professional, but I know that I have it. There was a point where I knew I was no longer sad all day because the feeling never went away. It hugged me like a cold blanket.

Being sad vs. being depressed are two different things. Being sad is a feeling that goes away as quickly as it came. Depression is something that clings to the person for ages. It is like a shadow looming over their head. It never seemed to go away. I pushed people away because how could they know what I was feeling. They wouldn’t understand that all I wanted was to cry and be alone.

I did not want people treating me like I was a fragile piece of glass, so I hid it. I hid my sadness to the best of my ability every day. I started to become lost in who I was because I just thought I was meant to be sad.

Then came a point where I realized I no longer wanted this shadow to determine how my relationships and my life played out. I no longer wanted to see the world in dark but in the light. I wanted to have days where I went to bed with a feeling of content and woke up the same way. I realized I was denying myself a life I never knew existed.

It’s hard, and I will be the first to admit that. It’s hard admitting you have depression because it’s sometimes not the stereotypical depiction the movies and shows portray. Sometimes you don’t even know you have it until its taken over. I did not want to admit that I had depression because to me it seemed like there was something wrong with me. Why was I not as happy as my friends? Why me?

The first step is admitting you have depression. Then it’s realizing that you need a healthy method of coping with it. I chose therapy, and that will forever be one of the greatest decisions of my life.

I will never be free from depression. There are days where I am at my lowest point and all I want to do is hide from the world. I let myself have those days without trying to force myself to “snap out of it”. I am learning to be okay with knowing that those types of days will come, but that doesn’t mean every day will be like that. I am stepping away from the shadow and into my happy place. I am no longer faking my smiles.