Heather Armstrong, creator of one of the most popular personal websites in the world, dooce.com, is one of a few bloggers who has written honestly and eloquently about her battle with major depression.
In a post of hers I’ve never forgotten, If This Isn’t For You, It’s For Someone You Know, she wrote about why she chooses to candidly share her fight against depression.
“It’s for the father who doesn’t understand why his daughter is so miserable. Why won’t she just snap out of it? Her kids are healthy, she’s got a roof over her head, she’s got friends. What reason does she have for being so sad? She’s being ridiculous.
It’s for the son who gets together with his friends and tells stories about his crazy mother. She’s never happy and sleeps all day. She hasn’t showered in a week. He’s tired of her bullshit. Doesn’t she know how embarrassing she is? Pull it together already.
It’s for the husband who comes home from work and finds his wife curled up on the couch unable to speak, unable to unwind her body from the fetal position. All she has to do is look after the kids all day. It’s not like she has to meet a deadline at the office. If she had to sit through his commute then maybe he could understand. What is it with her?
It’s for those who think we can just get over it. I’ve written about my struggle so that maybe you will understand that your daughter, your mother, your wife… they aren’t being ridiculous. They are suffering. They are in pain. They are struggling with a sense of doom so overwhelming that they cannot see anything beyond it. It is real and it is awful. And they need help.”
Those four paragraphs have stuck with me since Heather first wrote them earlier this year. So often major depression is treated as a bad attitude when it is, in fact, a very real mental illness that millions of people live with every day.
A young photographer is doing with photography what Armstrong does with words. 20-year-old Christian Hopkins tells mymodernmet.com he knows all too well the devastating effects of major depression. “I’ve been suffering from Major Depression for the past 4 years and it has manifested itself throughout that period in many ways, photography included.”
Hopkins uses photography to cope with his depression and share what it’s like with others. His series of surrealistic self-portraits are stark, brutally honest visuals of what it’s like to fight depression, loneliness, lethargy, anxiety and the constant mental battles we all have with ourselves.
I don’t suffer from any serious form of depression, luckily, but the photos are a startling insight into what it’s like for those that do. If your parent, sibling, child or spouse deals with depression, these photos are for you. If you suffer from depression maybe you can take some comfort in the fact that someone else knows what it’s like. Someone else is dealing with the same overwhelming feelings as you. You are not alone.
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