For most people, the idea of being sad is just a phase. Something that only happens when someone passes away, or you get a F on your midterm. For others, being sad is something you can’t get away from, no matter how hard you run. There are people out there every day struggling to see the ray of hope at the end of a very dark tunnel, begging for just a single fleck of light in the dismal dark pit they have found themselves in. That pit is often called Depression. Many believe that depression, no matter how mild or severe, is just a plea for help. A cry out for attention. Sometimes it is, because as depression has been sensationalized, we now have a generation that thinks it is cute to be depressed and act like they suffer from a real illness. Depression can be triggered by many different things, and for some people, there isn’t a trigger at all. It is just a never ending blot of darkness on an otherwise lovely day. There is also seasonal depression with affects quite a few people primarily during the winter months. Some get it during fall but not as often.
What I want to bring to light is that these people are suffering, the people who truly have depression are failing to be able to genuinely feel a glimpse of hope. Telling them to smile or “lighten up” can often just frustrate a person suffering from depression, and most frequently asking them what is wrong should not be at the top of your to-do list. People like myself who suffer chronic depression don’t really know why we are depressed, just that we are depressed. I’ve been learning to manage my depression, and over the years my symptoms have lessened greatly, but I still to this day remember how bad it used to be. It tends to get even worse after pregnancy, and sometimes during. Unlike most pregnant women, I was sad a lot and was frequently fraught with bouts of crying for absolutely no reason. It came to the point that one day my husband pulled over to the side of the road, stopped the car, and just sat there, waiting for me to do or say something. I didn’t know what to say, and he was so concerned about me and my depression he didn’t know what to say either. As we sat there in the car, he let me lay on him and he just held me for a while as I cried. In between tears, I remember I was incoherently sobbing that I didn’t know what was wrong or why and that I was so sorry for ruining an otherwise lovely day. I remember almost as if it were yesterday, he cupped my face in his hands and looked me in the eyes and said that any day spent with me was a lovely day, distraught crying wreck of a mess or not.
My husband has helped a lot with my depression management, and so have my kids. Not many people who suffer depression can get the help they need, or the medical attention that is required. I was one of those people, but thankfully with the help of my husband and my children, I don’t feel I need it anymore. Sure, I still have moments of depression but that wont ever stop, not even with medication. One thing that I know of that has helped me, that I hope might help others in the future is a thankful list. I try to make one once a month that consists of everything I am thankful for, that gives me reason to have hope for the future and something to smile about. A thankful list is basically comprised of all the good in the world, like oxygen, grass, trees, sunshine, etc. Another thing that helped me was forcing myself to look in the mirror and telling myself I am worth happiness. This was hard for me, because even though I am inherently thin, I’ve never really liked myself. What I realized though, was no matter how much I dislike my own self, I deserve to be happy just like everyone deserves to. Happiness doesn’t equate to beauty, happiness is for everyone. Short, thin, tall, fat, built, or every day average, we all deserve to smile and mean it. We all have a reason to keep pushing forward in the world, no matter how bad we do on a test, or how much our job might suck.
In writing this, my goal isn’t to bring awareness of depression and its suffering but bring hope back to people who haven’t felt it in a long time or never felt it before. I want people to read this and say, “Hey, I was like that… Maybe I deserve to be happy too.” Realizing you deserve to be happy is one of the first steps towards becoming happy. Confidence in yourself, and remembering to be thankful every day for even the smallest of gestures is too. There are always people out there who want nothing more than to see a genuine smile on your face, and most importantly, I want you to be happy. I don’t even know you, and I may never know you, but I want you to be able to wake up with a smile on your face. I want you to be able to walk with pep in your step, and I want you to know you are never alone.