The D Word

I met someone the other day. He’s 30 and has an exceptional job in the sports industry. His job allows him to travel all over the world and he’s been able to work with some of the most prominent soccer athletes from Europe. His life is something I’ve only dreamt of. It seems so glamorous.

We started talking because he practices meditation and I was curious as to how he began and how it’s impacted his life thus far. After talking for a bit I asked him what prompted him to begin meditating. He said, with no hesitation, “I used to be extremely depressed and I didn’t want to take antidepressants. So I turned to meditation and therapy.”

This stunned me a bit. He was so nonchalant about something that I’ve been hesitant to talk about for years.

Of course we all know that depression exists. We might have witnessed some of our loved ones experiencing it after a death, a job loss, or illness. We might have witnessed the misconceptions about depression portrayed in the media, in films, or in whispers in the hallways of middle schools and high schools across the country. Or we might have even witnessed depression personally. The feeling we have at the beginning of each day; that pure exhaustion at trying to reach a happy place and never knowing if we will ever remove the weight from our chests.

Depression hurts. It hurts us mentally and physically. It comes in waves when we least expect it and robs us of our hope. We lose the ability to look ahead and the light at the end of the tunnel becomes more and more dim.

But the thing that bothers me most about depression is the lack of acceptance. This lack of acceptance from society, lack of acceptance from doctors, and lack of acceptance from insurance companies…it’s unacceptable.

When someone is depressed it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re planning their suicide.

There are many different forms of depression and the worst part of it is that we have such a lack of understanding for something that is so out of our control.

I’ve definitely experienced forms of depression and while I am fortunate that my experiences were mild to some cases; it was something that greatly affected my life.

I didn’t want to die, but I also wasn’t sure I wanted to live. Not the way I was living anyway. I wanted to feel hope again and I wanted to experience non-fleeting happiness.

But unfortunately the answer that my doctors at the time gave me was antidepressants. That wasn’t fixing my problem…it was a small Band-Aid on a larger wound.

But my insurance doesn’t cover therapy and those therapists who don’t take insurance cost upwards of $100/hour.

When are we going to wake up and start taking mental health seriously? When is it going to become clear that the shape our mind is in determines the overall health of our body? When are we going to be able to say, “I’m struggling to get through this time in my life,” without being met with judgmental and hesitant looks from our peers?

Depression is a serious issue. But it’s only going to become more serious if we continue to allow ignorance and hearsay establish our understanding of it.

“Depression is like drowning, except you can see everyone else around you breathing.” 

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