Hi, reader. I know you’re there, taking in my words. Even if you never comment. Even if you never tell anyone that you read Honest Mom. Or that you’ve been going to therapy or on antidepressants for years.
I know what I write is reaching you. And I want you to know something.
It’s okay to be quiet about dealing with depression. It’s totally okay.
Today’s Internet celebrates the loud and proud. Sometimes the ones who attract all the attention aren’t worth the fifteen seconds it took to read the BuzzFeed article they were featured in.
But sometimes the vocal are celebrated for good reason. A bunch of brave depression warriors come to mind: Jenny Lawson at The Bloggess. Katherine Stone at Postpartum Progress. Cristi Comes at Motherhood Unadorned. Erin Margolin on her beautiful blog.
They are just a few of the women who are putting themselves out there very publicly, letting everyone know they deal with depression in an effort to lift the stigma of this misunderstood mental health issue.
Me? I write about depression all over the interwebs and in print, but I’m somewhere in the middle of quiet and loud, really. I don’t attach my face to my blog or use my married name. I don’t tell tons of people “in real life” about Honest Mom. I turn down local media opportunities and don’t do many local events. I do this to give my kids and husband some privacy, and to keep from attracting unwanted attention in my small town.
I’ll write, I’ll chat on social media, and I’ll even speak at the Blog U conference this summer, but all in all? I hang back a little. It’s my way, and I’m comfortable with it.
But what I want you all to know, all of you who are quiet about your depression, is that if you don’t feel comfortable telling the world about what you deal with and prefer to keep it between you and your therapist, that’s 100% okay.
I think the concept of being a private person has lost value in our selfie society, a culture in which breakups play out over Snapchat and attention-seeking Facebook statuses beg for commentary. Being quiet about personal stuff does not make you a coward. It makes you a private person. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
However – being quiet about depression doesn’t mean you can’t help others. Loud and proud isn’t required to make a difference. Quiet and strong works, too.
You can reach out to a woman you have a feeling is dealing with the same stuff you are, and say I understand. I am here to listen. I get what you’re going through. Even if you help one person with depression feel not so alone, that’s amazing. Possibly life-saving. And that one life matters.
It takes all types to battle the stigma of depression. Loud, public advocates. Quiet, supportive fighters. And people somewhere in between, like me.
Let’s make a resolution together to quietly reach out to at least one woman this year who we think is battling depression. A mom in your playgroup, a neighbor, a coworker who hasn’t been herself. One person.
And if you keep your resolution, I’ll keep writing. Deal?
I’ll take your silence as a yes.