When I was diagnosed with depression a few years back I received some of the best advice that has probably saved my life. Someone told me, “I know you’re hurting, but I want to encourage you to talk about it. Don’t stop telling people what’s going on.”
As hard as it was, I did. I told my friends, I told my acquaintances, I even told the cashier at Walmart, who honestly, was probably a little taken aback at my answer to her simple, “how’s it going?”.
And when I told people about my struggle an amazing thing happened. They told me about their experience with depression, or their daughter’s struggle, or their friend’s. I didn’t feel much emotion in that season of my life, but I felt a little bit like I wasn’t alone. Or at least, when I looked back on it later, I saw that I wasn’t.
Talking about it takes the secrecy and shame away. It opens doors. I’ve met people and heard stories I never would have if I had kept my mouth shut and suffered in silence, even though that was the easiest choice. I didn’t want to talk about it. I wanted to curl up and die.
Even now, when I wake up and sense the heaviness that means my day is not going to go well, I can break the chains by telling someone how I’m feeling. So I don’t stop talking. I can’t.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to tell my story in front of a room full of women. It was really hard. It’s been a few years since I have been able to feel strong emotion (still hoping that comes back, the more I heal), and I was kind of glad for this as I was able to tell my story without tears. Tears are good, don’t get me wrong, but when I cry it’s ugly and blubbering and really distracting, I’m sure.
I had the opportunity to talk with so many women about depression, and suffering, as a result of my openness. Everyone can relate, it seems. So seriously, let’s not stop talking about it, deal? I have several friends who I have heard say they hate small talk, they just want to get straight to the point, which is: how are you, really? I’m so with them. Let’s stop pretending. Let’s talk about how we’re really, for real, doing. In person. Not online, or through text. But sitting down together, coffee is optional, and talking one-on-one.
I won’t stop talking about it.