Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Depression is real

This post is incredibly hard for me to write about, and incredibly scary for me to share. 
Today I want to post about something personal, and something very real. I hope you all don't mind my taking a few minutes and sharing this personal story because I think more people need to hear stuff like this and realize that they aren't alone.

I've struggled with depression for as long as I can remember. Several things played an effect on that, I think, so I wont go into detail on that at this point. But, my depression gradually got worse and hit its peak when I was in high school. Particularly Freshmen and Sophmore years.  I remember always feeling alone. I could be in a room full of people and be laughing and joking with them and still feeling empty and alone. And, quite honestly, scared. 
I never told anyone. My parents knew I was struggling, but they never knew how bad it really was. Most of that was my fault. I pushed people away. I remember my parents asking several times if I needed to go to counseling and I would tell them I wasn't crazy enough for that and that I just needed my friends.  I was never able to explain my depression. I had a really hard time putting it into words without trying to blame others for the way I felt. I didn't want people to know about some of the things that had happened to me, or that I struggled with because I was so embarrassed about them. 

At the end of my Sophmore year, I was ready to be done with it all. I didn't want to feel that way anymore. I wanted out. I was sick of being alone. I had some really great friends, even though I didn't realize it at the time. One day, I went to seminary, we had a testimony meeting, a chance for those who want to get up and share their testimony with everyone. A friend of mine got up and shared his, part of it stuck out to me and, virtually saved my life. This might not mean anything to anyone else who reads this but it had an impact on me. He said “I don’t know why the Lord has blessed me with such great friends. They are there for me no matter what, even on my bad days.” And I remember thinking, he probably wasn’t talking about me, but maybe I am appreciated and loved. That’s when things started to get better for me…slowly, very slowly, but they did. 
 The next year I had another good friend who spent a lot of extra time talking to me and helping me feel important again. He spent a lot of time listening to me cry and complain about people who I tried to blame my depression on. He challenged me to read the Book of Mormon in 60 days (I think) and I did. And from there things slowly, painfully slowly, got better. I no longer wanted to end it. I fought through it. I leaned on my friends. And I am so very, very grateful for those friends.  The ones that are still around and who still love me for who I am, and who I am becoming. 

I eventually did go to counseling and got help for a big chunk of what had been weighing me down. And it did help. I was able to let go of some things that I'd been holding onto for over 12 years. There are still some that I struggle with, that I work on daily.  And maybe in a later post, if I feel the need, I will share some of that stuff but that's not for today.  

The point of this post is to hopefully show everyone that, even though you might not know what you're doing, you could help someone who is struggling. 
Depression is real. 

It's painful.

 It's scary.

 If someone you know is struggling with it, be there for them. Show them that they are worth something. Offer to take the kids for an hour so she can take care of herself for a little while. Take a meal in to them, just because you felt like it. Invite him to a movie or a game or just to hang out so he doesn't have to be alone again. Do something. It doesn't have to be big. just, something.

If you are the one depressed, don't be scared or embarrassed to let someone know you need help. Don't feel like you're a burden to everyone around you. If they invited you, you're wanted. Get help. It might be hard, I still struggle on a good amount of days, but it's worth the fight. 

"There is nothing more powerful than the arm of love that can be put around those who are struggling."--Elder M. Russell Ballard 

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