It doesn’t have to be “Mental Illness Awareness Month” to speak up about mental illness. A huge part of getting this conversation started is keeping it relevant, and mental illness will always be relevant.
First off, it is totally okay to not be okay. You don’t have to have everything figured out right now. Life is messy, and so are we. But perfection isn’t real and walls eventually crumble. You are not your mental illness. Friend to friend, individual to individual, human being to human being, I’m offering a hand and asking you to remember hope.
When depression stands, I forget what sunlight looks like. Depression shows me darkness. Depression screams when I beg it to be silent. Depression stays when I ask it to leave. Depression stands when I tell it to sit. Depression says morning won’t come- morning will never come.
But depression isn’t me, nor is it you. We are not our depression.
When depression stands, we remember hope. We remember that morning always comes.
If you’re struggling silently, I stand with you.
Let’s speak truth when all we know are lies.
We must acknowledge that depression will never consume us. It will never identify us.
See, we walk past one another every single day on campus, exchanging simple hello’s and how are you’s- but does it ever really go beyond, “I’m good, how are you?”
The idea is to really see people. Not just look or glance, but really see one another. I see you for who you are, not for what you’re struggling with, or what you might feel is consuming you by the minute. People need love, and we must pursue this by really seeing them. See people, know people, love people, have hope for one another.
Often, I forget what I’m here for. I forget what I’m pursuing, what I enjoy, what I deserve. I get lost in the moments when depression becomes my dinner date. Why am I here? Someone? Anyone? I don’t want to be here anymore. I can’t be here anymore.
Every time I reach this point, something inside me triggers and I remind myself that all I need to do is breathe- slow down and just breathe.
I’m reminded that my passion lies in speaking words that rarely get spoken. I’m reminded of the smell of fresh coffee in the morning. I’m reminded of that old 90’s pop punk song that all of my friends hate. I’m reminded of my best friend’s laugh. I’m reminded of my love for writing. My love for an open night sky. I don’t want to miss out on these things. I can’t miss out on these things.
When depression stands, we remember light. When it feels like an ocean wave engulfing the depths of our souls, we remember to keep breathing.
If you’re looking for a signal to keep holding on, this is it.
We rise up, hand in hand, when depression stands.
Keep fighting the good fight, friends.