May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. Although mental health awareness shouldn’t be limited to one month per year, please take some time this month to learn, understand, or talk with someone who suffers from a mental illness. Understanding, education, and empathy are the only ways to break the stigma.
My depression manifests itself in a number of ways but, in a bizarre twist of events, the hallmark is my silence. I stop texting, emailing, commenting, blogging or writing, and mostly just talking in general. I’m not an overly chatty person (most of the time) but when the depression is bad, I go my version of radio silent (is that expression still a thing? It should still be a thing).
I do it because the depression quiets my voice.
It tells me I have nothing of value to say.
It tells me I have nothing add to a conversation.
It tells me I’m boring.
It tells me what I have to say doesn’t matter.
It tells me I’m stupid and uninformed.
It tells me I’m an impostor.
It tells me to shut up.
It tells me no one cares.
In case I haven’t said it before, depression is a lying asshole.
On my good days, I know this is all bullshit (for the most part. I’m admittedly pretty boring sometimes) but in the thick of it, it’s as true as the fact that I’m short. And on those days, all I want is for someone to let me know that:
I’m not boring.
I’m not stupid.
I’m not an impostor.
People do care.
And that’s what I’m saying to you, even if you don’t have depression. Because maybe you’ll have a bad day and you’ll need it.
Keep using your voice. Even if it feels uncomfortable and like you’re talking into the void, I assure you, someone is listening.
You never know who you’re impacting with even the most mundane comment.
Just keep talking.