What I wish people knew about depression

Flooded” is a poem I wrote about depression.

For those of you that don’t already know, I went through a period of major depression that started sometime in 2014. I’m not sure exactly when it ended, but it was pretty persistent for about a year and a half.

For some awful reason, mental health is still incredibly taboo to talk about, especially for those of us who are young and male. I hate that we’re still held back by the insidious and oppressive social stigma, and I’m determined to do everything in my power to see it broken down for good.

Depression fucked me up. It changed who I am, and how I look at the world. I don’t know if it made me a better person, or any of those other cliches, but it isn’t something I’d ever choose to go through again.

Looking back, I just wish people understood. I wish people not only cared, but also knew how. There were some beautiful people in my life that genuinely tried, but they often just didn’t know how to be there for me. The crushing loneliness that comes with depression is often compounded by the fact that no one quite gets what the person is going through, and they aren’t really welcome to talk about it either.

If you know someone who is suffering from depression, please don’t run from them. It definitely isn’t easy, but please do your best to support them. Ask them how they’re going. Ask them about self harm and suicidal thoughts, and ask about what they’re doing to try to cope; and then stick around. Be there when they need the same conversation over and over, even when you feel like it doesn’t make a difference at all.

It really does. Let them know that you’re not scared to talk about it. You might not be able to fix things, and you have limits of your own, but letting them know that it’s OK to talk about is a massive first step.

If you are suffering from depression, you are not alone. There are people who understand, who are happy for you to talk to them about what you’re going through. There are a whole host of services that can help you get better, even when you don’t think it’s possible. Reach out, and never stop trying. As hard as it is to see when you’re depressed, it eventually gets better. It really does get better.

 

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