Like a broken mirror, depression is fragmented and discomforting. When the person you see in the mirror is not the person you feel like inside, you wonder why and want to "fix" yourself to match what you see. When you live with depression, you hide. You hide your inner thoughts, demons and feelings from the world, and often yourself. And during your lowest lows, those things you kept locked away so tightly, so carefully come screaming out at you, shattering you as they go.
This series of photographs will be released over the course of the next 8 days. Each image represents a stage I personally have experienced in my battle with depression, save one. The final image. It is an image I have envisioned, but have not fully experienced. And I am hoping I never do.
The poem that goes with this series will be broken up in stanzas to match the images. On the 9th day, a blog post with the entire poem together and the entire series will be released. I implore you to read the information below the first image as well, for this series is more than just pretty pictures, it is a statement. It is a stand.
Depression has long been stigmatized as being a disease, a curse, something people wouldn't accept about you if they knew. But like many diseases, depression is better understood if it IS talked about and accepted. 121 million people in the world suffer from some form of depression, and this number increases every year. 60-80% of depression cases could be effectively treated, but only 20% -- 20%! -- receive adequate care. Is it any wonder why suicide rates are so high?
It's time we look beyond the stigma. Depression deserves the same attention and dedication to cures as breast cancer, heart disease or autism. Depression is a serious problem in our society that few want to acknowledge. But what matters to a depressed person is feeling like they can talk about their problems rather than having to hide them. We claim to be an evolved society that is accepting, rational and capable of empathy, yet we can be so judgmental to someone who is hurting and doesn't know how to help themselves out of the dark place they are in. So let's change. Let's talk about depression and how to help those who suffer. Let's work on curing the issues that cause depression. Let's make our society better as a whole.
Consumer Health Digest has a great article here to start understanding depression and how to support someone who is depressed and comes to you for help.
Healthline also has some great statistics, some of which were mentioned in this article, in a great infographic here.
And if you are reading this and have depression or suicidal thoughts, there are people who want to help you. Please don't give up. You are worthy and you are loved. Call 911 or 1-800-SUICIDE if you need help or just someone to listen. There is no shame in asking for help. If you are in Colorado, there are direct, local lines you can call as well, found at this link.
I hope you have found this blog post moving, if not inspiring. I personally suffer from depression and can tell you there are times it is not easy. But my work, my family, my friends, the life I have, it gives me courage to carry on. The people in my life support me and for that I am forever thankful and blessed. It is my hope that by sharing my series and my personal story, we can break the stigma and become stronger through unity.