"Depression exists in selfish people. Step outside yourself, helps others & you will feel better!" ~ Bullshit tweet from @TheDailyLove "Depression isn’t real, just snap out of it." "Depression is all in the mind." "You’re not depressed, you’re just lazy." These are things I’ve heard my whole life. I come from two cultures (African and West Indian) that are notorious for either repressing their feelings or "praying them away". They believe in ignoring things rather than admitting that they’re sad/hurting/depressed. Looking back, I realize that I’ve been surrounded by depression my entire life. My father supported all of us financially AND emotionally, but he never dealt with his issues (stress, his mother’s passing, etc), which probably contributed to his health issues. Then there’s my mom. *Sigh* My mom is a depressed individual. From 1991 (when my brother was born)-1998, she stayed home and pretty much made everyone miserable. She wasn’t really a homemaker, she was literally a mom who just stayed at home. My sister and I had to do all the chores, and we were constantly getting hit for bullshit. Fast forward to 2008. That was the year when I was officially diagnosed with depression. I had dropped out of school in 2005, worked on and off til early 2008, and by the summer, I was a mess. I couldn’t even go outside without my chest feeling tight. I was taking in MAYBE 500 calories a day. I was extremely angry, and my temper was out of control. I would go in and out of sleep, and always end up waking up at 4:30 AM, no matter when I went to sleep. What people don’t realize is that depression is a disease, a dark menacing cloud of self-doubt and hopelessness that follows you everywhere. You feel as if you’ve never been happy and will never be happy again. It affects you physically, too. It ruined my sleeping patterns, my appetite, everything. There’s a HUGE difference between depression and feeeling depressed over a particular thing. You can’t "snap out of it" any more than you can snap out of schizophrenia or any other disease. It IS, however, easy to cover up. It’s easy to put on a smile, act strong, then break down when you go home. I’m sure people are like, "Wow, Zindzi’s depressed?? She takes antidepressants??" Yes, yes I do, and I’m not ashamed of it. Nine out ten times, the folks who bash depressed people and/or counseling, are the ones who need it the most. They call you weak, failing to realize that holding your issues in and never seeking ANY kind of help is a sign of weakness. I’m crazy because I have a shrink? No, YOU’RE crazy for wearing your issues as some sort of badge, as if it’s cute to lash out at people all the time, or drink your liver away, or bang everyone in sight. It’s not. You’re hurting about SOMETHING. Go do something about it. That is all.