Yes, I have depression. I suffer from depression and anxiety and I have for a long time.
No, this was not easy to say.
After writing an "Opinionated Editorial" for an English class this week about the stigma of mental illness, I realized I was such a hypocrite. I wrote that people need to stop being ashamed of their mental illness and start to look it in the face, because that is the only way to work through struggle. By looking it in the face and telling it you're stronger. I wrote this essay explaining how society makes us believe we should feel ashamed and weird because of an illness. That we need to stand together and start talking about it.
People tell me that I'm the last person they would imagine to deal with something like this, that I seem to have it all together and have a smile on my face at all times. And they're right, I do act like my life is together and when I'm in public theres a resting smile on my face. I learned to do that because I thought if it was any other way, people wouldn't like me. That being class president in high school, playing two varsity sports, being involved in clubs after school and managing honors and AP classes, while trying to find ways to make money without committing to a job, never mind a social life or sleep, makes me the kind of person that people "like".
I was wrong.
People like people because of their personality, their willingness to grow and love, their character or just because they have a good sense of humor. I believed that having "problems" would make me less popular, or that because people knew I had mental illness problems they wouldn't like me. The funny thing is, I use to care if people liked me, I used to care if they thought I was weird or any less of a human being because of my issues..
But I was still so hung up on mental illness, because I thought it made me weak, or that I did something wrong. But I didn't and if someone ever feels the need to belittle me for something I have no control over...
What kind of people are those anyway?
They sure aren't the kind of people that you would want to surround yourself with, especially when you need someone to depend on. Being open and honest about who you are, will clear out a section of people in this world that you wouldn't want in your life anyway.
I'm I still absolutely terrified? Hell yes. Will I feel better after this is published? I sure hope so.
It isn't easy being different, otherwise everyone would do it. But its time we break these walls, one at a time. And the first step in that, is accepting yourself for who you are. Don't be ashamed of your mental illness, its like any other illness. Why does it matter where it is? Your leg, your arms, your lungs, your heart, your brain.. It's time we got over ourselves and thinking that we're invincible. It's time to make having problems make you a human being, and not a freaky robot. It's time we're allowed to struggle, and not be made to feel ashamed of it.
So thats it, my confession to the internet that I do struggle with mental illness. So what? Everybody's got something..