As with many mental illnesses, depression is truly an invisible disease. Aside from feeling lost or numb, depression feels like a physical weight holding you underwater, it’s a constant battle against yourself. Due to the isolating factor that comes with mental illness, it can be very difficult for an individual to reach out.
People who suffer from depression often feel ashamed, weak, or like they don’t deserve help because their life “isn’t that bad.” This is a common and dangerous mindset, it pushes people further into isolation and stops them from seeking the help they desperately need. Depression can be caused by a number of things from a sudden death or lifestyle change to genetics and childhood trauma.
September is observed as National Suicide Awareness Month and last year a new hashtag, #faceofdepression, where depressed people shared pictures of what they look like, emerged as an effort to showcase how easy depression is to miss. According to the World Health Organization one person dies from suicide every 40 seconds. The disease does not discriminate between age, religion, or gender and is a growing global problem, it was the 17th leading cause of death in 2015.
Common signs of depression to watch out for may include a constant feeling of helplessness, loss of interest in favorite things, sudden changes in appetite and sleep patterns, irritability, loss of energy, self-loathing, concentration problems and even physical problems like frequent headaches, stomach aches, and muscle pain.
If you think you might be experiencing depression or know someone who might be, it’s important to reach out. There is never a right or comfortable moment to do so, the time is now.
1. Milly, @selfloveclub, describes how she was told she “doesn’t look suicidal” by a doctor. Comments like these often invalidate those suffering and pushes them further away from seeking help. It was only after her suicide attempt that people began to take her seriously.
2. This image was shared by Talinda Bentley, not long after Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington died by suicide. The image shows us how depression can be hiding behind even the biggest smiles, the most loving fathers, and successful people.
3. This image was taken during a father-son day only a few months before a 16-year-old boy lost his life to suicide. You would never be able to tell that the young man is in pain or having suicidal thoughts. His father now runs a twitter account, @aBrendanThing, to spread the message of mental health awareness in honor of his son.
4. This image shows us that no matter how healthy or happy someone looks, they could still be suffering. We often don’t know someone is suffering from depression until they self-harm or attempt suicide. The user also highlights how people made her feel invalidated about her mental illness because she didn’t “look suicidal”.
5. This image shows us how even with a seemingly nice home, someone can still suffer. His mother, who posted the photo, writes that this was taken right before her son went to research how to properly hang himself. A couple days later, he lost his life to suicide.
6. Posted by Rayna Gawel, this photo features her daughter headed to a daddy-daughter dance. The very next night this 8-year-old attempted suicide but luckily made it to the hospital in time. Today she is learning to defeat her illness, highlighting how depression doesn’t care about age.
7. This image shows us how, even with a family, you can still be depressed. It’s often repeated that if you have someone to love and who loves you, your depression will be cured. This is a myth, one that must be expelled to truly open up the conversation.
8. Again, this image shows us that someone who is seemingly happy is suffering in silence. Taken two weeks before her boyfriend hung himself, you would never guess the smiling gentleman in the photo was depressed. This once again shows us that being in a relationship is not enough.
9. This image by Jessica Woodard explains how medication saved her life and also almost took it. Something to understand about antidepressants is that they are serious drugs, you cannot take them casually or you can do serious damage to your health both mentally and physically.
10. This image is another example how, even with a child to pour love into, depression can still try to claim your life. Some women may already be suffering from depression or develop it after having a child, known as postpartum depression.
11. This image posted by Danika Ransome shows us how easy it is to hide the face of depression. Many assume that those who are depressed will look run down and tired all the time, in reality, that is often not the case.
12. Another image that shows us no matter what is in our life, depression can find a way in. Raising a newborn child is exhausting and difficult work, it can often trigger underlying mental illness like depression. Seeking help is the best thing you can do for yourself and your child.
13. This image highlights how depression can cause drastic weight loss in short periods of time. The woman in this photo, Stefanie Reinsch, dropped around 70 lbs in a little over a year, an unhealthy amount over a short time. Reinsch explains how depression stole her appetite, causing her to unintentionally starve herself while those around her complimented her weight loss.
14. This image was taken after the user returned from therapy. After dropping her kids off at school, this mom headed to counseling to speak about problems on a deeper level. They are able to reflect on their change of thinking thanks to the help they receive.
15. This image, posted by Miss Earth Kristin Chucci, shows us that depression can be a lifelong battle. Even at a young age, people can still suffer from mental illness. A common misconception is that people who “have it all” have no reason to be depressed, again this is a dangerous myth.
16. This young woman, @aubernutter, has a seemingly fantastic life. She highlights that this is the myth behind depression. Having depression or an anxiety attack isn’t always crying on the floor or hiding in your room. It can be found anywhere, including the life of the party.
17. Another post by selfloveclub shows how depression affects lives in other ways. Not only can it cause you to feel terrible, it also inhibits your ability to properly take care of yourself; cooking meals, cleaning your space, personal hygiene, and more.
18. A photo depicting what depression looks like is also not accurate. Instagram user @chrissiebm shows us how sometimes you can make it out the door, make it to the party, or that date, only to have depression rear its head and ruin it for us.
19. This image of a seemingly happy couple would make you think neither suffers from depression. In reality, the woman, Zoe Vanmeter, tried to commit suicide but was found by her family just in time. This is another example of how having the love of those around you is not enough, you must seek professional help.
If you or anyone you love is suffering from depression, then seek help immediately. Please take this seriously!