Today I found out about a brave movement called The Semicolon Project. Participants in this project are drawing tattoos of semicolons on their wrists to raise awareness about depression and self-harm.
There was a time in my life when I didn’t want to live anymore. I was incredibly hopeless. I was afraid to wake up in the morning because when I opened my eyes I knew that I would have to face the day. If you haven’t struggled with depression, it’s hard to understand these feelings. But they are incredibly awful and real. They are debilitating.
In addition to having suicidal thoughts, I’ve also had (in the past) thoughts about cutting myself. I would have those thoughts when I felt hopeless and like my life was not going to get better. It was a manifestation of internalized pain. I would imagine cutting myself so that the pain would go away.
I never acted upon thoughts of self-harm. But I have friends who were self-mutilators. The thoughts alone were upsetting to me at the time. I can’t even imagine what it must feel like to harm oneself.
I am here to tell you that I have lived with depression my entire life.
For a long time I was scared to share my story about living with depression and feeling suicidal. When I finally opened up to my friend Byron about it, he confessed that he (too) had been suicidal and had been an active self-mutilator. He cut himself on a regular basis in order to cope with the feelings he had inside himself.
It was such a relief hearing his story and recognizing the fact that I am 100 percent not alone in these feelings.
I read a wonderful post on Motherhood Unadorned about the semicolon movement. In her raw real piece, Cristi writes of depression and mental illness: “IT IS A LIE. Your depression, your illness, is LYING to you.”
She is absolutely right. Depression is an evil ugly monster and a liar. It will tell you that you can’t go on. It will tell you to give up. It will encourage you to pull the covers over your head and stop trying. But it is wrong. You can fight against this nasty beast. You can beat it too.
Most importantly, you are not alone. If you’re scared to wake up in the morning, I have been there. If you’re afraid of the thoughts in your head, I was too once. You can make it through this. I did. I survived. I sought treatment. I found a great therapist who helped and continues to help me fight the monster known as depression.
You will get through this. You’re a good person, even if your brain tells you otherwise. Do not stop fighting. You are strong. I am with you. I am you.
So much love. You got this.
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