Depression…there is help, you’re #notalone

This post is part of a month-long series on suicide and depression, in honor of the Fiorella family, who lost their son Lucas, to suicide this year.

 

Dark_Emotional_landscapes_by_BlackAurora42I’ve suffered from depression for as long as I can remember. I always thought it was a normal way to be. As a child, I can’t remember anyone speaking about it. As an adult, it’s still a topic that is whispered about, spoken behind a hand, or not spoken about at all.

I have varying degrees of depression – some episodes are more intense than others. Most times, I can feel it coming on and I take steps to work my way through it. Sometimes, it comes out of the blue. Those times are the hardest.

I have attempted suicide twice; once when I was 11 or 12 and sometime in my teens. The thing that I remember the most of that time was that I felt so alone, so isolated. I wasn’t sleeping, eating, or taking care of myself.  I stopped caring — I had given up. I couldn’t talk about any of this with anyone. I couldn’t ask for help. In my mind, there was no point. I wasn’t worth the trouble.

I like to think of myself as the strong one – the one who is always there for others offering an ear or help. I’ve learned that even the strong ones need to lean on others at times. Depression is serious business – it doesn’t matter if you think you’re strong or not. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it’s actually a sign of strength. A sign that maybe there is a way out of the darkness.

I know I’m not good at asking for help. How many other people who suffer from depression don’t ask because they don’t know how, they’re too afraid, or they just don’t feel like they’re worth it? How many don’t ask because they’re afraid of being judged or made fun of? There is a huge stigma attached to mental illness, and it’s time that changed.

No one knows the cause of depression – it can be situational or clinical. It can occur in people of all ages, from young children to the elderly. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in teens.

Did you know…

  • 1 in 8 teens suffer from depression. It can be the cheerleader, the music student or the boy/girl next door.
  • Teens feel the stigma of depression as much as or more than adults due to the intense peer pressure they have to deal with. And sometimes, they just don’t feel they can confide in anyone — even their best friend.
  • Girls attempt suicide more than boys, however, boys are more successful in their attempts.
  • Surveys have shown that 50% of college students report feeling so depressed that they have trouble functioning. They are exposed to many stressors that can lead them to develop depression or other mental illnesses. Moving away from friends and family, taking care of themselves for the first time, having to make new friends, and being academically challenged can be overwhelming.

According to Erika’s Lighthouse (www.erikaslighthouse.org),  early identification and intervention can help young people get the help they need to lead healthy, happy and productive lives. They believe that “Teen Depression Education is Suicide Prevention.”

In this video from Erika’s Lighthouse, real teenagers discuss depression; its feeling, its effects, and where to seek help.

If you’re depressed or are feeling suicidal, please get help. Talk to your parents, friend, school counselor, clergy person, someone. You are #notalone in this. There is help…there is light at the end of the tunnel.

If you’re in crisis:

In the U.S., call the Nineline.org hotline for children and teens at 1-800-999-9999. It’s free, confidential, and available from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM, Eastern Time, seven days a week.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline suicidepreventionlifeline.org 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

In Canada, call the KidsHelpPhone.ca helpline at 1-800-668-6868.

In the UK, call the Childline.org.uk helpline for children and teens at 0800 1111.

In Australia, call the Lifeline.org.aus 24-hour helpline at 13 11 14.

 Resources for further reading on teen depression and suicide:

  1. Erika’s Lighthouse
  2. Helpguide.org – Teenagers Guide to Depression
  3. Kids Health – Talking about Suicide
  4. PBS – Take One Step – Depression out of the Shadows
 Photo credit: Dark_Emotional_landscapes_by_BlackAurora42

  8 comments for “Depression…there is help, you’re #notalone

  1. Sid
    December 19, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful and vulnerable post!

    • Sherree Worrell
      December 19, 2014 at 3:12 pm

      You’re welcome?! Seriously, hardest post I’ve written to date, but I’m glad I did. Thank you, Sid, for reading and sharing it. It means a lot.

      Sherree

  2. December 19, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    “As an adult, it’s still a topic that is whispered about, spoken behind a hand, or not spoken about at all.” Sadly, this is true. And what makes me appreciate this effort all the more. Thank you for sharing your story. Hugs,

    • Sherree Worrell
      December 19, 2014 at 3:17 pm

      Sam,

      I hope that the efforts that have been made over the past month will change the whispers to shouts. Or at least, a voice that can be heard without judgment. I’m honored you stopped by and commented. Sharing my story was the least I could do to help make talking about depression less of a stigma. If more people share their stories, I believe things will change.

      I will continue to keep you and your family in my thoughts.

      Wishing all of you peace…

      Sherree

  3. Diana
    December 18, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story of strength and perseverance – I admire you.

    • Sherree Worrell
      December 18, 2014 at 7:56 pm

      Thank you so much, Diana. I’m truly humbled by your comment.

  4. Maggie
    December 18, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    I too have lived with depression of varying degrees all my life. (I know about it sneaking up gradually… and I know about when it just knocks you over)… I have opted to use “live with” rather than “suffer from” . Just my way of changing my own perspective on it..
    And we do need, as a society, to remove the stigma.
    There is so much guilt and shame which we attribute to it ourselves… and so much misunderstanding about it from those who don’t. I also live with other diseases and conditions… arthritis, severe chronic pain… etc… and no one (including myself)… expects me to “just snap out of it”… have more will power..
    Thanks so much for sharing your story Sherree.. #NotAlone <3

    • Sherree Worrell
      December 18, 2014 at 5:35 pm

      I like the way you have changed your perspective about depression, Maggie. I guess I’ve become so used to “suffering” that I forget that I’m “living” with it. There’s a huge difference in those thoughts and how it makes one feel. Think I’ll shift my perspective. As someone who shares a couple of your AI diseases, chronic depression is another side-effect of chronic pain. It took me a long time to reconcile that, but it helps. When I’m in a flare, there is no way I’m snapping out of anything, but at least I’m cognizant of it, and I can be with it at that moment.

      Thank you for sharing and for the kind words. You’re awesome. <3

      Sherree

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