On January 14, 2017, UPenn Track and Field star, Madison Holleran, committed suicide. Her facebook page shares stories of how depression and mental illness has affected others. Kevin Breel shares honestly what living with depression is like for him:
REAL TALK: "I tried to take my own life. But I survived. And that left me with my story. And my story is four simple words: 'I Live With Depression.'
Sadness is what you feel when something in your life goes wrong. Depression is what you feel when everything in your life is going right.
The world does not understand depression, does not understand mental health -- which is ironic because depression is one of the best documented problems in the world, but one of the least discussed. We just push it aside and put it in a corner and hope it will fix itself. Well, it won't. It hasn't. And it isn't going to. That is wishful thinking. And wishful thinking is procrastination. And we cannot procrastinate on something THIS important.
The stigma around depression in our society is very real. The stigma is very real. If you think that it isn't, think about this: would you rather make your next Facebook status you can't get out of bed in the morning because your back hurts, or you can't get out of bed in the morning because of depression. Because unfortunately we live in a world where if you break your arm, everyone runs over to sign your cast. But if you tell people you are depressed, everyone runs the other way...
Depression, we don't see it on social media, on Twitter, on Facebook, because it's not happy, it's not light, and we don't see the severity of it. But the severity of it is this: somewhere in the world, every 30 seconds, someone takes his/her own life over depression.
I don't know the solution. But it has to start here, has to start with me, has to start with you, has to start with people who are suffering. We need to be brave for what we believe in. The problem is not building a world and eliminating the ignorance of others; it's building a world where we teach the acceptance of ourselves. Where we're okay with who we are. And depression is there. And you need to know depression is okay. If you're going through it, you're okay.
I tried to take my own life, and to be 100% honest, I've thought about it again. Because that's the sickness. That's the struggle. That's depression. Depression is not the chicken pox -- you don't beat it once and it's gone forever. Depression is something you live with, something you live IN.
Some people might fear girls, or sharks. I feared myself. I feared my vulnerability. I feared my truth. I felt like I was forced into a corner... where there was only One Way Out. I thought about this One Way Out every single day.
Depression is okay. It's okay because we're people -- we struggle, we bleed, we cry. Strength is not ever showing weakness -- strength is Talking Truth. People will not beat this problem alone. We need to stand together. We need to stand strong together. And I believe that we can.
If you are going through depression, know that you are sick, you are not weak. Depression is an issue, not an identity. My pain has forced me to have perspective. My valleys have shown me there are peaks. My darkness has shown me there is light. My pain has forced me to have hope -- hope in myself, hope in others, that we can speak up, speak out, and fight back against ignorance, fight back against intolerance, and accept you for who you ARE, not what others want you to be."