Depression. A solitary illness that infiltrates without warning and tantalizes without mercy. It isolates its victims into an enclave of inferiority, coercing them to live in a distorted rock bottom. Depression doesn't show signs of physical manifestation, yet the pain travels through veins and crevices of the body. Depression makes itself right at home. It constructs an exterior facade, fooling everyone into perceiving that its victims are fine. It is sleepless nights and days spent wondering, what's the point? What's the point of lying wide awake smothered in blankets of despair at 3 a.m.? What's the point of going to work? Talking to friends and family? Being productive? Or simply being?
What's the point? More often than not, victims of depression simply do not know. Despite their SOS signals, calling for help to the outside from within, we've failed to find those answers to help.
For Marist College sophomore, Brooke DiPalma, depression affected the man she loved most: her father, Joseph DiPalma Jr. On April 23, 2010, a beautiful Friday morning, she saw her father one last time on her way to school. His last words to her were, "I love you," before he committed suicide.
He was a hero, an honorable member of the West Islip community, someone who laughed often and smiled proudly. He was a devoted family man and friend, always looking out for those dear to him. Soon after, she felt lost. She just began high school, and felt unsure of where to turn, what to do. Days once spent with creating special memories with her best friend, vanished without warning. She had to adjust to a new routine, a new way of life without her number one, go-to guy by her side.
And then, in the midst of it all, she remembered those last three words her father said to her, those three words that so often, people do not feel worthy of receiving: "I love you." From that moment on, she made it her mission to combat depression and suicide, and spread positivity, love, and tolerance. It is now her mission to create lightness and unity against darkness and tragedy.
Seven months later, Brooke used those three words, along with the stigma surrounding depression, to build P.S. I Love You Day. It aims to create kindness withstanding depression, and promote togetherness as a force ending tragedy. P.S. I Love You Day is held every second Friday of February and on this day, everyone wears purple to represent the fight against bullying, depression, and suicide. What began as a West Islip High School Class of 2014 event grew into an international movement, with help from her high school peers and her determination. From there, it began to spread into other schools as a club and a program run by student governments, and other clubs with similar missions.
In 2012, Brooke created a YouTube video that has inspired over 70,000 viewers. From there, she spread her message, idea, and vision at leadership conferences, and continued to bridge communities together. Now, P.S. I Love You Day is a non-profit organization, and her passion continues to grow each day.
This year, P.S. I Love You Day falls on Feb. 12. She hopes that 60,000 people across the globe will wear and create a sea of purple, to show that no one is truly ever alone. On Feb. 12, P.S. I Love You Day will continue to bridge communities together, and inspire the masses to be kind.
To help her reach this goal, it starts with us. We have the opportunity to ignite positivity, come together as one, and set a nationwide precedent. On Feb. 12, wear and bleed purple, and show your support.
Depression may be a powerful villain, but its more powerful enemy is love. With one day, we can create an inspiring message lasting a lifetime. We can bring light into the darkness.
Make sure to check out: https://twitter.com/psiloveyouday.