For many years I was severely depressed. Starting in my early teens with feelings of not being good enough or loved, I went into a downward spiral, getting more and more depressed as the years went on. I became self-destructive in different ways, and in the end I just didn’t feel anything – there was only emptiness, a black hole where all my feelings used to be. The depression became my personality, I didn’t know who I would be without it, which made the spiral even harder to break.
I used to be ashamed of my depression, about my feelings, about the scars on my body that still witness of what I’ve been through. I didn’t want anyone to see and judge me. But I’m not ashamed anymore. Yes, I used to hurt myself, I used to be in a very bad place, I used to be depressed, but that is nothing I should have to feel ashamed about. I got out, I’m better now – of course it has lefts its scars, physically as well as emotionally – but I made it through and I have to say I’m proud I did. It was an incredibly hard fight that could have ended up very differently if I wouldn’t have gotten the help that I did, at that specific point in time when I did.
I’m incredibly saddened by how it still today is taboo to talk about mental illness, even such a common thing as depression. It’s bad enough to feel depressed, it’s even worse when you don’t dare to ask for help because you are afraid what other people might think of you. It’s something that needs to change, and it’s never going to if we don’t talk about it. So I’ve decided to talk about it. Not just in this post, but also in real life.
I’m not ashamed. In many ways my depression made me the one I am today, and why should I be ashamed of who I am? So when someone asks about it and I feel that they really want to know, that they are not judging me, I will tell them. If someone has the wrong idea of what depression is, I will tell them my view and my story. Prejudice exists mainly because of lack of understanding, and we can’t reach understanding if we don’t answer questions and explain. We can’t get rid of taboos and judgement if we don’t talk about the things that feel uncomfortable, even though it might feel a little bit too personal.