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Depression Sucks | #MyFridayStory No. 105

Depression Sucks | #MyFridayStory No. 105

Today I attended the memorial service of a young man of 22 who took his own life.

Although I didn’t personally know him, by the stories that were told about him and his short life on earth, everyone loved him. He was known for being a prankster and enjoyed making people laugh. He himself had a contagious laugh. The kind you could hear from a mile away and was classic him. He loved sports and excelled at everything he tried. Academically, he pushed himself to be the best he could be in every subject.

He had dreams of one day graduating from varsity and becoming a forensic pathologist. He and his best friend pledged to be the best man at the other’s wedding one day. With a love for helping people to excel, he became a part-time tutor whilst studying. His students loved him and he loved helping them improve. He was a natural leader, people gravitated toward him.

His life was not without the problems and challenges most young people face today. But by all accounts, he was in high spirits. No-one ever saw it happening. No-one can make any sense of it. Those left behind are left wondering, and hurting.

Yesterday, the 10th of October was World Mental Health Day.

I am a sufferer of chronic depression and bipolar disorder. I was clinically diagnosed while still quite young. I’ve been under some form of treatment for all my adult life. This journey has allowed me to experience first-hand what it is like to live with a mental illness. I have navigated the treacherous terrains ‘we’ have to endure. Let’s just say: The grasp of the illness is limited at best. There are few folks that understand and have real empathy for people with mental illness.

The negative stigma associated with having a mental disease is alive and well and still prevalent today. I’ve heard the phrase, ‘Just snap out of it’ more times than I care to remember.

As someone who knows what a dark place depression is and how it affects your life, I can relate to other sufferers. I had many dark days that I never want back ever again. I was in constant anxiety. Living in fear that my depression would overwhelm me again like it had done many times before.

In a way, I was fortunate to know people who suffered from a similar condition. They had already sought professional help from doctors and were receiving treatment.

Because of this, I knew early on I could be better. I knew that I didn’t have to live like I was living. The specialists that diagnosed and treated my illness, are dear friends today. It took a little while to find what works for me, but when we found it, my life returned to normal.

I know what it feels like to lose all hope, where your will to survive has been depleted. Years ago, I was there. It was the darkest moment of my life. I was scared, terrified and horrified that I could be thinking like this. I knew I was in deep trouble and needed professional help. I desperately wanted to live. I thank God I found help.

Our most primitive instinct is survival. The extent to which a human being will go to survive is beyond what some would consider is humanly possible. True stories such as depicted in 127 Hours, a movie about a mountain climber who falls and is trapped by a boulder and has to find a way to escape, and Unbroken; A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption about an Italian-American officer that was shot down over the Pacific and the ensuing ordeal he endured, are good examples of our burning desire to survive.

When the flame no longer flickers, all hope is lost.

Mental health should not be taken for granted. Not everyone is fortunate enough to escape the clutches of depression, anxiety and the many other mental disorders. The statistics are alarming of how depression is increasing, especially in younger generations. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO)one in four people globally is affected by the disorder.

There is no doubt someone in your life that is suffering and could do with help. Reach out to everyone in your life that you love and love them more. Do it often. You can never do it enough.

I’m sure the parents of that young man this morning would agree, although depression sucks, where there is love, there is always hope.

Have a great weekend! 😄

* Please feel free to drop me a mail frans@leap1st.com I’d like that, and if you would like to receive #MyFridayStory each week, join here

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