Depression is difficult enough to cope with. Top that with seemingly endless trauma and there you have it: A basket case.
Before you read too far into the statement above, I promise I am ok. I still get out of bed. I still perform my daily motherly duties. I still cook and clean. I still have dreams and aspirations. I do not hate my life. In fact, I live a good life, though it could always be better. I am engaged to an amazing man who I consider myself so lucky to be able to settle down with. I have healthy, happy children who continue to thrive. I have a roof over my head and food in the (cold) refrigerator.
On the flip side, I’ve been going through a divorce for over two years. I feel fragile and traumatized by my ex who simply ridicules me and continues to tear me down regardless any orders the judge imposes to protect me. I receive messages saying “fuck you, you’re a bitch, a whore, can’t think for yourself [,etc].” Hell, I was even told that he “hopes I would die” when I was in labor and excited to meet our youngest blessing. What a great legal and justice system we have. A system that has zero regard to my mental and emotional health. “That’s the consequence of marrying and having children with the guy,” many will say, as if to imply that a human being deserves to be belittled and torn down. I wouldn’t wish this treatment, let alone this type of “support” system on my worst enemy.
My best friend, who I considered and still consider to be more of a soul sister, a relation and connection that ascends beyond the physical plane, committed suicide. Not only that– I only found out she committed suicide when I tried to reach out to her and ask her to be a part of my wedding planning and be in the wedding. Instead, when I didn’t get a response from her message, I went looking for answers as to why she was avoiding me. (R.I.P, best friend. We shall meet again ♥ .)
Battling my self-worth has been the most difficult part of this. It’s hard to look in the mirror, it’s hard to sleep. It’s hard to smile and laugh. Don’t get me wrong, as I mentioned previously, I still get up and handle business, but don’t think that means that this trauma, coping, and simply trying to live on doesn’t get hard. The baggage gets so heavy. People say move on or get over it, not realizing that the stigma of mental health is what continues to thrash, burn and worst of all, silence sufferers. Depression makes it impossible to see any worth in one’s self at all. Mothers begin to believe that they are burdening their children, people in general feel that they are burdening their families or even society in general. Students, athletes and performers feel that they aren’t good enough. Worst of all, no one on the outside even has the slightest clue.
“It could be worse.” I. Hate. That. Statement. Whether true or not is irrelevant. These are the words that send a vulnerable person over the edge when they are already emotionally at rock bottom. Please don’t say that. Moral of the story: Stop stigmatizing depression and mental health in general. Not everyone can simply snap out of a dull moment. If you can, congratulations, here’s your high-five. I challenge you to be strong for the vulnerable and, most of all, be present with those suffering. Mental health stigma (NOT mental health) is a slippery slope that consequently burdens all of society with tragedy, misery and despair. Let’s fight that. Let’s support one another and mend the flaws of society together, rather than alone. Much like scars, moles, and birthmarks we can embrace what some may consider to be flaws and realize that each of us are unique and have much to offer no matter how different we may be.