Having depression was like having a secret I was too ashamed to tell people about. I thought being depressed made me weak. I thought being depressed made me ungrateful. So I hid my depression from my family and friends and acted like the happiest person they knew. At the end, hiding my depression only made me more depressed.
Sometimes when I was too depressed to go to work, I would tell people elaborate lies about being sick or losing my car keys so that they wouldn’t know about my depression. The lies started catching up to me and I felt like an awful person for lying to the people I loved.
One day after finding out about a family member’s death and arguing with my boyfriend, I just couldn’t take it anymore. That was when everything fell apart. I came into work and everyone saw that something was different. I wasn’t smiling. I didn’t say hi and ask how everyone was doing. I just couldn’t pretend anymore, but that was also when things started changing for me.
My friend from work saw that I was upset and pulled me aside. She said, “you are so strong for coming to work even after all of that”. She told me about her experience with mental health. In that moment, I felt that I was being honest for the first time in a really long time.
I am still struggling to tell people about my experiences, but I have witnessed how sharing your story can help others too. By listening to my friend’s story, I didn’t feel so alone. I didn’t feel weak. I felt connected. I felt honest. And honesty is strength.