1 in 5 adults experience mental illness in the U.S. in a year. That’s 43.8 million people.
43.8 MILLION PEOPLE, and there is still a stigma around mental health issues.
Thousands of people suffer in silence because of the stigma surrounding it. For a long time, I was one of them.
When I was 15 years old, I was diagnosed with depression. I kept it to myself, but thankfully I grew up with very involved parents that could see something was wrong. I went to the Dr. with my mom, and I got put on medication to treat the condition. I took my medicine daily, and slowly but surely, I got back to where I needed to be mentally. I still kept everything to myself, and aside from my parents, never told a soul what was going on in my life. It’s amazing what a fake smile can hide.
Clinical Depression is real. It isn’t a fad, or something that people make up for attention. It isn’t the same as depression from a loss, or from some kind of unfortunate event. It’s an actual medical condition that people affected have absolutely no control over or choice in. The expression “happiness is a choice” isn’t a fair statement to people that suffer from depression or anxiety. If it were a choice, wouldn’t everyone chose happiness? I know I would!
Anxiety is something that I still struggle with daily. Certain things trigger it, and when it’s bad, it’s really bad.
I’ve never opened up much about my mental health struggles. Like many people, I was afraid of being looked down on. People judge what they don’t understand, and only people that have experience with depression or anxiety understand it. As I got older, though, I realized that the ones that are afraid to open up about it, just need to know they aren’t alone.
I’m here to tell you that you aren’t alone. Admitting that you need help is a sign of courage, not weakness. It takes all the strength in the world to open up and share your feelings, not knowing how they will be perceived by others.
Here are some signs of clinical depression. It looks different for everyone, so just because you experience it one way, doesn’t mean somebody else will.
Signs and symptoms of clinical depression may include:
- Feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness.
- Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters.
- Loss of interest in activities that you once found joy in.
- Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much.
- Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort.
- Reduced appetite and weight loss, or increased cravings for food, and weight gain.
- Anxiety, agitation, or restlessness.
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame.
- Trouble thinking, concentrating, or making decisions.
- Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, or suicidal attempts.
If you think or feel like you could be clinically depressed, please get help. Reach out to someone. Anyone. You are not a burden. You are loved and you deserve to be happy. A simple visit to the Dr. just may save your life.