A few months ago, I shared my struggle with depression in a blog post. It was the first time that I’d really opened up about the intense sadness that would overtake me , and the response to the post was incredible. I received inbox messages, texts, telephone calls, and emails from all types of folks who shared their own struggles with depression. My feelings of guilt (that my family and friends had to deal with me during particularly tough times), and shame (of not being strong enough to just “get over it”) often drove me to retreat within myself.
The isolation of depression can lead to dark thoughts, pain, and suffering. For some people who are struggling with depression, those things get to be too much. In the last three months, I know of 3 people for whom that was the case. The suffering was too intense, and they took their own lives. It is devastating, and for many people, it’s confusing. “But, she seemed so happy!”, “He was so loved!”, “He had everything going for him!”. Depression can be complicated for those suffering from it, as well as for those who have loved ones dealing with it. That’s why I believe depression needs to come out of the dark.
What is #DayOfLight?
After learning about the suicide of a young man from my hometown (my sister’s senior prom date), I was inspired to declare February 5th the #DayOfLight. My blogging sisters at Pushing Lovely (and you?) and I are joining together to shine a light on depression. We will be sharing personal stories, as well as resources and accurate information about the mental illness. With the help of professionals like Lori L., a Master of Social Work based in Philadelphia, and representatives from national organizations, we will share information on things like how to identify depression, therapy options, and national resources.
How Can You Participate?
- Write a blog post sharing your personal experience of depression and/or share resources to help others. Add the #DayOfLight hashtag in your post title.
- Watch the #DayOfLight Google Hangout on Wednesday, February 5th at 11 AM EST. Tweet and ask questions. (http://bit.ly/1ilifbP)
- Participate in the #DayOfLight twitter chat on Wednesday, February 5th at 9 PM EST (follow @PushingLovely, @NotoriousSpinks, and @BrandiJeter for more information)
- Turn your social media avatars black and white on Wednesday, February 5th so we can visually represent all of those affected by depression.
- Share inspiring tweets, posts, and photos on social media to encourage those who are suffering with depression to let them know that they are not alone. Use the hashtag #DayOfLight. (On 2/4, I’ll share a link to a file with information that you can pull from if you’re interested)
Depression is a complex mental illness, and it manifests differently in different folks. #DayOfLight isn’t about trying to simplify depression. I’m hoping that by bringing stories of depression into the light, we can help to erase some of the stigma surrounding it. If you need more information about #DayOfLight, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: In no way am I doing this alone. This is the first of many posts of gratitude from me this week: Many thanks to the women of Pushing Lovely for jumping on board to bring depression out of the dark. Your actions and support mean everything to me! So much love to Lori for developing a wonderfully informative program for the Google Hangout, and a special shout out to Pam, Yolonda, Arelis, Janeane, and Natasha for your selfless actions and support as we prepare for #DayOfLight.