This week we experienced Bell Let’s Talk day. People tweeted, texted, shared, hashtagged, and more to spread awareness for mental health. People texted non stop so that Bell would donate more and more money to mental health, including me and many of my friends.
I was proud when I received texts including “Bell let’s talk it up”, “texting to raise mental health awareness”, “#endingthestigma”, and many more, including friends who texted me using only one word per text (since it was five cents donated by Bell for every text sent) and would send their phrase in several separate messages.
I was not proud when I was scrolling through Yik Yak (a social media app for people to talk anonymously to others that are close to their location) and saw that one person made a yak (a yak on Yik Yak is the same as a tweet on Twitter) about them having depression, and someone had commented that the OP (meaning the person who wrote the yak – the “Original Poster”) did not actually have depression and in fact made it up because they were “bored with their life”. Then people proceeded to comment saying that depression isn’t real, and that everyone has their problems.
It’s people like those who commented that are the reason events like Bell Let’s Talk day exist. People are scared to share their story because they are worried that everyone will think that they’re making it up. Yes, some people do that, some people make up that they have depression, but that doesn’t mean that depression doesn’t exist, and that there are people who experience it every day. The stigma surrounding depression is astounding. We’re scared to share our stories because of what others might think. Depression is very real, and affects so many people every day, and the worst part is that depression does not make sense. By this I mean that someone could work part time, go to school five days a week, be on a sports team, and still make time for friends, family, and a potential partner, whereas someone else may find all of that to be too much and simply not possible. Then you tell them that “everyone has their problems” and that their “feelings aren’t real”.
It’s not about being sad, or having outside forces affect you, such as school, friends, work, and stress. It’s simply about who you are and whether or not you have depression.
You shouldn’t be scared to share your story with your friends, peers, or even strangers, because everyones story is different, and anyones story could be a light for someone else to look up to in their time of need. Just because some idiot somewhere believes that “depression isn’t real” doesn’t mean that you should hide from yourself. We as a people need to stand up together and end the stigma surrounding depression, and everything else, such as anxiety, paranoia, and more.
Bell Let’s Talk day may be over, but that doesn’t mean that the day we stop fighting is over.