Recently Honest Mom wrote a powerful post here – one of her main points being that depressed people look “normal” because they’re just regular everyday people who happen to struggle with depression. And yeah, I’d say I look “normal” for the most part. I manage to get dressed, and take care of my kids, and function out in the world as if I’m totally fine.
But the thing that strikes me is that sometimes I wish I didn’t look so “normal”. I know that sounds like a complete contradiction and I don’t fully understand it myself. The stigma associated with depression is so damning that I generally wouldn’t want to bring attention to myself as a depressed person. But, I’ve had those moments in the middle of Target, or while managing kids in church, or at preschool dropoff…when I wish I could scream, “I’M DEPRESSED HERE, PEOPLE!! PLEASE HELP!!” Times when a kind word or friendly gesture would reach me in a more profound way than the giver could possibly understand. Depression can be so incredibly isolating that sometimes what is needed most is a simple message from someone – anyone – that they care.
Maybe someday the statement “I have depression” won’t automatically trigger judgments of failure, or laziness, or weakness of character…and then we could all get better at asking for the help we need. Wouldn’t that be amazing?