I want to take the opportunity to speak about something that is shrouded in stigma and confusion.
This is not a study I conducted on a panel of volunteers or a viewpoint made outside the battle of mental health. I lived it; I fought the battle every day for over 13 years. Nowadays, my focus is on prevention, continued healing, and advocating for mental and emotional healing.
I want to ask you, the reader, a question.
How does depression start? What is the seed of depression?
Here is my viewpoint.
Depression starts when we hide our emotions when we listen to a society that screams at us.
"No! Emotions aren't allowed here. You are a professional, a soldier, a marine, a sailor, an airman, a man, a woman. Oh, you aren't happy? It would help if you had a new car, a new job, a new spouse, more money, more vacations. You need everything except the ability to show your emotions."
Depression is the consequence of the lack of grieving. Something happens, whatever it may be. We become sad, upset, angry, overwhelmed, stressed; and then it happens.
"Hurry up, get over it, and move on!"
We drink the poison; we put on the mask; we keep on keeping on like nothing ever happened. We never grieve; we compartmentalize so much that we put it away like a file in a dusty file cabinet, and most times, blame ourselves for feeling anything other than positive.
"I should be able to get over this!" we say in our critical inner voice, a voice that has always been there waiting for a chance to rear its ugly head.
Our inner critic spews its opinion; our inner judge slams its gavel of judgment.
So we began to push away, seclude ourselves, hide behind the walls we have built around our hearts, and tighten the masks we wear.
Before you know it, you look in the mirror at a person you don'teven recognize.
The inner critic screams, "Look at yourself; this is who you are now. This is you!"
Guess what, though?
You aren't supposed to "get over" anything. Instead, you are supposed to "get through it."
That means you face it. You don't push it to the back of the deal with life problems or let it hide.
You face it and heal.
Grief is part of the balance of life. When we decide to remove it from our dictionary, we are left with holes inside ourselves that are meant to be made whole yet stay empty. We then fill these holes with anything that makes the pain or thoughts remind us of what happened to go away for even a moment.
In these holes are where depression resides.
We live in a world where everyone is an expert on happiness, yet no one wants to talk about the hard stuff, so for over four years, I have.
Grief is part of the healing process; it has helped me love, care, and feel more.
I can now look back, and the man in the mirror and not feel disgusted.
I am free from the prison I created.
I am a man with feelings, emotions, and I have learned about each one and how to express them beneficially.
It required a lot of work, and at the center of it was learning how to grieve.
If happiness is everyone's goal, then may I give a recommendation.
Learn how to grieve in a positive way for yourself.
You are not intended to swallow pain or lock sadness away.
Staying quiet will never heal you. Only speaking up will!
No matter how dark it is or how deep or wide the hole, you are never alone.
Reach out. Speak up. Heal.