Last Wednesday, the most amazing thing happened. Folks from all parts of the country shared their stories of depression online all day long. People changed their avatars to black and white, wrote blog posts, shared tweets, and made it clear that just because you have depression, it doesn’t mean that you have to suffer in silence and alone.
We started the day off with a powerful video Hangout with Natasha Nicholes, Pamela King, Summer Davis, Janeane Davis, my husband, and my friend, Lori Latimer, a Licensed Social Worker. Yolonda Spinks live-tweeted the event for us. In the Hangout, we talked about dealing with depression and learned ways to manage and treat it. All of the panelists were so open and honest about how depression affected them, and it set the stage for more transparency throughout the day.
For hours, influential folks online came out of the dark to share about their depression. Inbox messages, Twitter DMs, text messages…it was clear to me as the day went on that so many folks really were feeling as if they were alone with their pain. Alone is a terrible place to be when you are depressed. If nothing else, my hope is that on Wednesday, February 5th, folks realized that, in fact, they weren’t by themselves, and that there just might be someone in their circle who understands what they’re going through. Here’s a great example, my BFF doesn’t have a blog, but the Facebook post that she shared about her depression opened up conversation with her friends, and, just like that…loads were lightened.
Later that evening, Pushing Lovely and Yolonda Spinks hosted a Twitter chat where more was shared about personal experiences with depression, facts and other helpful information to help diminish the stigma and shame sometimes associated with depression. I was blown away by folks joining in, and telling the TRUTH about their situations, and helping each other by contributing to the conversation. Val from The KaiCon Group created a Storify to recap the entire event. You can check it out at the bottom of this post.
Overall, the #DayOfLight generated 7.9 million impressions on Twitter, with 365 voices adding to the conversation about depression. Pretty amazing to see a little idea turn into a big social media movement. Even more amazing to see how many folks came out of the dark on that day.
Alrighty, so…what’s next? Not going to lie. #DayOfLight took a lot out of me. I’m an introvert, so being so available to others all day long was overwhelming. I’d do it again in a heartbeat, though, and I will. Starting on March 5th at 9 PM EST, there will be a #DayOfLight twitter chat to continue to spread awareness and hope about depression. I have a team that is leading and supporting, and we have plans to really use social media to bring awareness to save and support each other.