The Faces of Depression. #SmileSelfie
We have been known to suffer with Depression.
We dance, we sing, we play, we laugh, we live and we work very hard every day to survive.
We are depressed.
I guess this must also mean we have ‘Mental Health Issues.’
We have become accustomed to the labelling.
Sometimes in the darkest of our moments, when we are very much alone and isolated in the fog, we may wish for the strength to disappear, to stop the fear, the anxiety, the pain, the voices, the feeling of constantly being misunderstood.
Sometimes the pain is so acute we wish we could cease to exist.
But that moment doesn’t look like this.
We do not spend our days in darkened rooms holding our heads in our hands wearing nothing but our soiled underwear.
You will never see me wearing a perfectly ironed t-shirt, with perfectly coiffed hair, looking longingly at the palm of my hand resting on a white wall, during a bad week.
I will not shave my beautiful head and walk around pounding my beautiful forehead with my beautiful fist while experiencing suicidal thoughts.
My head is not full of pills as the stigma suggests, because actually, like most, I am so scared of losing myself I refuse to take them.
I am not beautifully ill.
I will not slice my arms in neat little lines, add a lovely sepia filter and post it on Instagram for attention.
I will slice my arms ugly because I hate myself, and will show nobody.
I will scream silently in to the night after spending the day grinning.
Depression is not romantic.
It is gritty, and dirty and scary, it is offensive and obnoxious, overpowering and above all, a bully.
It is the swelling around the cheeks, the dryness around mouth, the hooded eyes, the darkness that swallows the brain, the stoop… the tight smile, the shadows chasing you down, the laughter a little too loud, the slight pause, the retreat, the fear…
And we are living it, fighting it, beating it and most importantly surviving.
We play with toy cars, we go out drinking with our friends, we sit at desks and laugh at stupid jokes, we watch thought provoking films, laugh with our heads thrown back and we have crazy hot sex.
We enjoy ourselves and we fight.
We fight and we fight and we fight and we fight.
And sometimes we lose.
When we lose, we lose badly.
The string of snot falling from a nose, the gasping for breath from behind lungs filled with sadness, the blackened fingertips from the smearing of mascara, the pounding head from a night spent in agonising grief, the avoiding eye contact, the wanting to die, the inability to see the future.
There is always an And Then.
While you feel uncomfortable and shudder at the thought of ‘depression’, we are forced to pick ourselves back up.
And occasionally, when we do, we are ok again for a while.
We have been known to suffer with depression.
We are not crazy.
We are not selfish.
We are not choosing to live with this illness and We are not making it up ‘when it suits us.’
We are depressed.
We are unable to ‘snap out of it’ at times.
‘Smiling more’ will not fix us.
We are Depressed.
And we live.
We do not live lightly but we do live.
We will not fade behind a stigma.
This is what it looks like.
These are the faces of fighters.
Some of these beautiful people are winners.
We are depressed, and we do not live in black and white, however much we may want to at times.
These are the faces that show you, you are never alone.
These are the faces of family.
These are the smiles of the bravest, most unbelievable fighters who inspire, love and live every day.
This is the real story of depression, the real representation of the fight, the truth.
And I couldn’t give a damn if talking about depression makes you uncomfortable.
Break the Stigma!
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