Please Don’t Kick Me When I’m Already Down

BY RACHEL WONG

No one can possibly be happy 24/7. If anyone is offended by this opinion, then I apologize. But the truth is, there are always things in life that will inevitably bother us. And at the end of the day, as the optimists of the world will tell us, it is how we react to these things that really matters. We have the capability to make our own decisions and to choose how much we are going to let things affect us.

People with depression aren’t pessimists all the time, though we surely aren’t optimists.depressed-woman-hand-touching-head-350.jpg We see the world through foggy, rainy lenses, but we still have this small inkling of hope for a better tomorrow. Though it may not be evident in the way that we act or present ourselves, it’s there – hidden way below the surface. We know that our behaviour can bring other people down and we know that others generally just want to help. But people with depression are also very solitary. For whatever reason, we think it’s a great idea to be left alone with our emotions. Occasionally, we come out of our shells and we talk to people that make us feel good about ourselves, and other times we might actually feel happy.

But when people with depression open up to family and friends, we don’t expect psychiatric wisdom or diagnoses that you’ve gathered from WebMD. We just want someone to actively listen to us. We need someone to give us an affirmative nod and let us know that we’re being supported.

Because the weird and twisted thing is: we want to be happy too. Not like an overnight, 180-degree turn from sad to happy. We just want to feel better about ourselves and the world around us.

Continue reading

Advertisements

The Words I Couldn’t Say – Until Now

BY RACHEL WONG

I recently had the opportunity to engage in a candid discussion with my parents about mental health. It was short and sweet and difficult to have on so many levels, but it was a step in the right direction.

They say that friends will come and go, but home is where the heart is. With that logic, I should be able to tell my family anything – not just how my day at school was or what I learned in class. I should be able to tell them about what is really bothering me instead of just saying, “It was fine.” I should be able to open up to them about my relationships and I should be able to lean on them during my times of struggle. So if home really is where the heart is, then why haven’t I been able to open up to them about my past struggles?speak

Why couldn’t I straight up tell them, “Hey, I’m depressed. I tried to commit suicide today and I desperately need help”?

For most of my teenage life, I have suffered from depression, panic disorder, extreme anxiety, and a host of other things like distorted body image, loneliness, and suicidal thoughts. But growing up in a conservative household meant that these issues couldn’t be discussed openly – in fact, they didn’t really exist in my house at all.

So you can imagine the sheer confusion of having all of these feelings inside me with no way to share them. There were times when I wanted to say that I was not fine and that I needed help. But how do you tell people you love that you are dying on the inside? How would I have even begun to explain the fact that everything that had happened to me until then – the bad grades, ended relationships, fights with friends, constant sickness – were all products of my mental illness?

It wasn’t until recently that I started being forthright with my issues, not only because I was sick of being sick, but also because I knew that our dialogue needed to change.

Continue reading