Are we able to talk about depression yet?
Since becoming an #SApro, I have noticed an increase in the number of people identifying as individuals struggling with their mental health. They will say in one-on-one conversations that they struggle with depression and general anxiety disorder, sharing about their use (or lack thereof) of medication and how maybe they've started seeing a counselor to help them process through everything their brain is throwing at them.
But for the most part these conversations are continuing stay in their one-on-one settings.
Mental health can be a scary thing. It is a scary thing. At least, it is when you're thinking or talking about it in terms of yourself.
I really struggle with aligning my rational thoughts and how I feel about things. Logically, I understand that I have some depressive tendencies that would likely land me with a diagnosis of depression. I have had the assessments done, utilized the campus online evaluations, read about and studied mental health as it pertains to my profession. Logically, I understand that there is no harm in going to see someone to discuss these things, to put them into words, to chase inner demons away through the use of your voice. Really, logically I understand that doing these things will result in the opposite of harm. I know that this would help, and I would probably be happier and healthier and more whole.
None of that makes it easier to go see someone. Or to move those conversations outside of their one-on-one bubbles, carefully guarded across coffee shop tables or over best friend text sessions.
I don't know if it's the stigma attached to seeking help. I don't know if it's the mere thought of having to pick apart and analyze the way our thoughts work and how they feed into one another, trapping us in a relentless, endless cycle of self doubt and self loathing. I don't know if it's fear. All I know is that it's hard, and intimidating, and damn scary.
And that scariness is what keeps our conversations secluded to their one-on-one bubbles, lovingly wrapped in a protective cocoon of concious concern over ourselves and a subconscious concern over what others may think of us. That scary feeds into the stigma that if our minds aren't able to be healthy on their own, there's a weakness within us that is unforgivable. But until we are able to face the scary like it's a nonexistent monster living under our beds, those discussions and confessions are going to remain isolated, and we're going to remain unable to change the perception and conversations surrounding mental health.
Maybe next time you're having that one-on-one conversation in a coffee shop, you'll invite someone else along to pull up a chair, and you'll share the scary with a third person. Eventually, it becomes less scary. Eventually, the monster under your bed will go away.