Everyone in this life, regardless of our differences, has a uniqueness in them. We all have a special gift, a special power all our own. If we could just harness that, accept that gift within us all and contribute that to this world, this world could be a true utopia.
I know to the deepest parts of my soul, part of my uniqueness, part of my power in this life is to love my wife. It is to help her through anything and everything. To help her share the amazing gift that she has with words with the world, and to eventually be able to share her story and touch the lives of so many.
I also believe it is my duty to talk about depression—not from a personal, self-afflicting account, but that of someone who has been in the trenches with someone who is struggling with this travesty.
Depression is a beast. It is an all-consuming hell on earth. Not just for the depressed but for the ones around them as well.
If being depressed weren’t bad enough, this fact alone only makes things worse, especially for the depressed. Their feeling of drowning in the darkness only becomes more and more solidified, making any light at all seem nonexistent.
Mental health issues carry an enormous stigma. I hate that it had to take seeing the woman I love most affected by this to be able to care or see this. But now that I do, I want nothing more than to be involved in the efforts to help break this stigma. I hope in sharing my experience and perspective that maybe, just maybe, I can help—even just a small amount.
So what do we do? How can we truly help those in need?
The first and most obvious step would be to shatter all taboos around mental health issues, with depression only being a small subset. Depression is real, it’s a thing, and contrary to popular belief, it is not a choice. Depression is not just some switch that you can turn on and off.
We as a society need to finally admit that this is an epidemic and one worth talking about. We should not just talk about it when a celebrity dies by suicide. We should be addressing this on a daily basis.
When it comes to depression, unfortunately, the depressed are already feeling like failures to some degree. They feel like burdens on us and the scary part is that it’s out of their control.
My wife hates taking medications. To her, it only emphasizes that feeling of failure, but again, that’s another stigma we need to acknowledge and diminish.
Medication doesn’t need to be a sign of failing. It is a lot of times a necessity. Just because your loved one needs to go on medication doesn’t necessarily mean they will need it for the rest of their lives, but it is something to help them stand on solid ground again.
However, one thing to be prepared for is realizing that it might be a rocky road to finding the right meds or a combination of meds. It’s been three years for my wife.
One of the last stigmas I would like to address is that of the feeling of shame. It’s OK to not be OK. Depression isn’t something you should feel ashamed of. It’s OK to talk about it, in fact, it’s vital that you talk about it.
I guarantee that a good majority of people you know or interact with daily are also suffering or have suffered from this. The amount of people on antidepressants is staggering—so don’t feel like you are alone. Find a good psychiatrist and counselor for your loved one, search for the free resources that are out there. Go to your church for help. Don’t give up, and most importantly just do your best to help ensure that your loved one has the support that they need. Help them fight that feeling of being alone.
Depression has a way of making us feel incredibly isolated. We’re here to remind you of the truth that you are not alone. We encourage you to use TWLOHA’s FIND HELP Tool to locate professional help and to read more stories like this one here. If you reside outside of the US, please browse our growing International Resources database. You can also text TWLOHA to 741741 to be connected for free, 24/7 to a trained Crisis Text Line counselor. If it’s encouragement or a listening ear that you need, email our team at [email protected].