Today is Bell Let’s Talk here in Canada. For every text message sent from a Bell phone or tweet using the tag #BellLetsTalk they will donate money to mental health initiatives.
I’ve already tweeted using the tag a few times but my phone is with a different company so I can’t help them out that way.
Bell Let’s Talk was started by Olympic Medalist Clara Hughes, who admitted to suffering from depression and various mental health disorders despite being on top of the world in her sport. It was an eye opening look into the world of Sports and it did a very good job of humanizing the athletes that are so often idolized by our society. This is a cause that is very close to my heart because for most of my adult life I have also suffered from depression and I would like to take some of your time to talk about it today.
Depression is much more complex than most people are willing to admit or accept. There is more to it than simply feeling sad. It is not uncommon for somebody who suffers from it to just be told to “cheer up” or “snap out of it”. If it were that simple then people probably wouldn’t suffer from it. When it comes to depression there isn’t always a root cause of it either, most people who are depressed would admit that they don’t understand why certain feelings hit them at certain times. It’s also not as simple as just being sad all the time either. Anger is a side effect that isn’t talked about enough.
While a person who is depressed will normally have low self esteem, not all people with low self esteem are depressed. An easy way to raise that sense of self worth is to lash out at others and find ways to bring them down to your level. Unnaturally strong feeling of resentment or persecution aren’t uncommon. Sometimes it’s easier to lash out at Bob who couldn’t draw a picture the way I can because he’s an asshole piece of garbage than it is to simply find somebody to talk to and say “Here is how I feel and this is why I act the way I do.”
A few years ago things in my mind had become very dark. I lost the ability to deal with my problems in a rational and logical way and all the only solution that seemed viable was a permanent one. I was afraid of talking to people because I didn’t think anybody would take me seriously. The fear of not being taken serious caused resentment and anger. There were times when I would become overly sarcastic and very hard to deal with because as much as I didn’t want my feelings, I didn’t expect people to understand. I was afraid of being seen as weak. One day, after a night of hard drinking(which I don’t do anymore) I went to a friend and told him everything that was going on inside my head. I told him how bad my feelings had become and how I’d sometimes had overwhelming urges to simply stop existing. My friend shocked me with his response. He said, “I can’t understand what that’s like, but Shawn you need to talk about this more. It feels like it but you’re not alone and you never will be.”
What he said washed away most of my fear. I began talking to him regularly and stopped feeling shame over how I felt. It’s not that there was nothing wrong with me, it’s just that there was nothing wrong with feeling the way I did.
People may not understand what you’re going through, depression is different for everybody. Two people with extreme depression may describe things in a completely different way, but there are always people willing to help you. Give the people you are closest to a chance, I’m not saying to turn them into your personal shrink, there are professionals for that and despite what you may read they do work wonders. There is nothing wrong with being put on anti-depressants. If they can find the proper medication for you it will work.
If you are reading this and you suffer from depression, I promise you it gets better. If you stick it out things will get better.
I’ve gone from virtually nothing to a life and job that I am proud of. I’ve gone from feeling alone and helpless to secure cared for. My results won’t be your results, but when you finally find a way to live with and overcome your depression it’s a wonderful feeling.
There will still be occasional flare ups, there will be times when you want to be left alone or when you feel run down and broken but they won’t last as long and they won’t be as strong. There is hope and it starts with you.
I apologize for the complete lack of structure in this piece, but I wanted to write this to let anybody suffering from depression know that there are people out there who care for you and people who are always willing to help. If you can’t find anybody to talk to then e-mail me
While I won’t always understand your exact situation, I can promise that I will never judge what you are going through.
There are a lot of good people in the horror community, they help me every day and I’d like to help you.
Thanks for reading.