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You Can't See My Depression; But It's There

1 million mohawks amy bleuel anthony alvarado depression mental health mental health awareness month mental illness project semicolon rise together suicide

Mental health and depression are one of those "things" that is not treated until it's seen. The pitfall of mental health, depression, and mental illnesses are that 99% of the time they aren't seen and they are masked, or people are putting on a good face for show. Just like myself, and many I know included. And when it goes unseen, it can even go unseen by the person suffering from it, too. Not just those who could be helping on the outside, along with your own personal healing.

I say treated [above] in the sense that people think that there is a simple cure for depression, or a cure for a mental illness that will be a "cure all." But that's not that case with the way we run our materialistic society. There are just too many environmental triggers to "buck up and deal with it." If that were true suicide wouldn't have become a $51 billion annual industry. Or there wouldn't be a reported 121 suicides a day in the United States alone.

Furthermore, there may be no absolute cure for depression, either. Going to show that the predicted even years ago by the National Institute of Health that Americans would spend well over $200 billion, or even $300 billion in current years for serious mental health issues, whereas cancer gets a meager $5.7 billion.

And we may not change from depressed to happy over night, just like we didn't change from happy to depressed overnight. But the odds may not be ever in our favor, until we learn to speak out and choose an organized healing approach through social movements, and relying on each other, versus relying on a pharmaceutical driven fix. [Disclaimer: Although I am not a doctor, consult a proper physician before stopping or starting any program or medication.]

I think that people rely more and more on medication as a fire starter to bring mental illness out of the darkness, instead of taking preventative actions. And when we are dealing with things like depression, or someone's life, it is true that these things have been brewing in people for years. Yet, no one has noticed it. There are son's, husband's, mother's, brother's that are all blind and oblivious to the point of either ignorance or desperation.

courtesy of projectsemicolon.com

What takes somebody to get that breaking point where they say, "I'm tired! I'm fed up and am not going to deal with this anymore!" And then taking this to the point of suicidal ideations, beliefs, or tendencies. And, the sad part is that is the point where people say that you should get help, or offer their help in return. It takes an extreme moment of visibility to see through the fog that everyone is living in and finally notice that something hasn't been right for years, while brushing it to the side because of the whole, "Oh, people change," motto. But, truth be told, people don't change like that.

People don't need to be dead first in order to prevent suicide. That's not the way it works, but, that's the way it's working right now without any clear consensus on enough stories told to know "the difference" as the serenity prayer says. So speak up if you're hurting, and speak up if you're not! All of it does matter. Whether you are on medication already, or you see a therapist, or you don't know how to tell a best friend you can't break the cycle of sadness consuming you. No matter what, the right thing to do is to say something.

Depression is a disease, and when it gets to the point of hurting yourself or a loved one--the point to where it can finally be seen as visible and not something invisible, underlying and controlling your every action, move, shape of what you are, and decision--that is the point to when people finally step up and admit or push blame to their "so called" breaking point. 

Depression is a shape-shifter, and I recently heard on a viral video from a brave young woman speaking out. She claims that one day depression is like a cute, little, fuzzy bear that you can hold in the palm of your hand and play around with. And then, other days depression is like where you want to play dead so that overgrown bear doesn't eat you whole. She said that she calls those her "dark days." And while her mother says to turn a candle on to shine through the darkness, she says that those comments--unbeknownst to the mother--make her feel even more like she is just sitting at her own funeral; crawling in her own skin. Hiding, in silence.

Pretty soon the bear becomes too much of a "switcheroo" process and we become labeled with more titles and illnesses. Illnesses like bi-polar, or by putting the term "agitated" in front of depression. While all the while a doctor sits there wondering what the DMSV can prescribe you and you're smiling thinking, "Finally!" While we know the smile is nothing but a lie and all you've wanted is someone to just understand you, instead of reciting a textbook they learnt in school. But like they say... "Walk a mile in my shoes first!" And so begins the era of storytellers. May your voice forever be heard! SPEAK OUT.

And the above situation with the doctor is just throwing kerosine to the fire, instead of addressing the root cause by bringing our "darkness" into the proper light. One that we feel comfortable enough to share our story with and go from being unknown to the world, and into sharing in such movements like the 1 million mohawk for mental health challenge. Ideas where we can band together and start awareness for that first slight change, catch it up front, and not right it off to a "rainy day." And then when the uncomfortable times do come, it's that much easier to speak out again...

This can be tricky though because many don't know when it's time to speak out, or make a change. Or on the reverse hand, many don't know if it's just a mood swing or we should really turn around and help the person suffering; or beginning to fall.

Now the question is how do we take something that's considered such a silent darkness, and turn it into a light-full situation, while we really can't always do that. But the steps we take to on the forefront to bringing awareness to what the causalities of these events, disorders, or illnesses are will help people notice the change in their--or a loved one's--day to day routines, eating habits (like eating disorders I (male) suffer from too), or even sleep changes much, much sooner so we can fight this war together before it's too late.

With that being said, if we can share enough stories, or make a million mohawks, and learn what the tell tale signs are sooner, rather than later, then depression doesn't become such an invisible disease. Does it? Then we are that one step closer to preventing suicide, and saving a life. Because of your voice!

We need to be a band of brothers and sisters, instead of a war alone. And that's where the fight will need to progress from the deep depths of the Marianas Trench, where we stand alone, up into the forefront and upper ground where we can join hands and know what the cause and "tell tale signs" are for beating depression not only throughout an aware mindset, but a team of soldiers trained through your very own footwork. And it all starts with speaking out, stepping out of the darkness, and curating your depression from something people know never happened, or is happening, into something that we tackle as a joint effort, smile on our face, and aren't left so contrite when we know suicidal is 100% preventable! 

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