For many years I struggled with the emotional isolation that comes from depression and anxiety. I was certain I was the only person in the world going through it. I thought there was no one in the who could understand my pain. How could they?
It wasn’t until recently that I realized just how prevalent these conditions were. A year ago, I decided to open up about my own struggles. I spoke to a lot of my family and friends and I was shocked at the number of people who told me that they, too, were suffering with depression or anxiety or both. I would have never guessed it by looking at them and, as it turns out, none of them had ever thought it about me. The image I tried to portray to the outside world was the polar opposite of what I was dealing with on the inside.
Why do people choose to suffer in silence? In my own experience I believed it was due to a lack of understanding by those around me and the perception that I had at the time: I thought that I was somehow a weak person for being depressed and anxious on a daily basis. I had some conversations with a few select family members and friends as well as some medical professionals - none of them really understood just how much I was suffering. Some even thought it was an act I was putting on to attempt to skirt my responsibilities as an adult. As you can imagine, I was deeply hurt by all this and it took me many years to cope with both my depression and anxiety, and people’s reaction to it.
Society has come a long way in dealing with psychological conditions, and people in general are more open to speaking about their emotional struggles. While I believe we, as a society, are positively trending in the right direction, I know that a lot more needs to be done which is why I decided to start Depression and Anxiety Sucks.
Those of us who suffer from depression and anxiety no longer need to suffer in silence; we no longer need to feel alone. We now know that millions of people are suffering from these often debilitating conditions. Celebrities are opening up; people around the world are opening up. You are not alone.
My pain is your pain and my strength is your strength. Trust me; you have no idea just how strong you are. Take a moment to acknowledge the bravery and the strength you exhibit just by facing your demons every day and going out into the world. Forget all the times you thought of yourself as someone who is weak or helpless. You are here with a purpose; you have a strong message that needs to be shared. Your suffering has not been in vain. You need to take action. There is no better time than right now. And there is no better way to share your story to help others than through Depression and Anxiety Sucks forum.
I encourage you to join our site and share your own stories and experiences. You will be surprised to find out just how many others, maybe some people very close to you, are dealing with depression and anxiety every day. It took me many years to realize that by sharing my own story, I may be opening the door to helping others. Please, do the same. Don’t be afraid to share with others how you feel. Help spread the word and let's get the conversation going so that we can help reach those that are suffering around us. Let everybody know that you know, Depression and Anxiety Sucks.
Jose Batista is the founder of Depression and Anxiety Sucks, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for those affected by depression and anxiety.