Depression: The Hidden Beast Inside

Published 5:40 pm Wednesday, February 13, 2019

By Jenny Fulish Glaze
Grief Relief

When the phone call arrived, I was totally blindsided by the news being reported to me. Another shining star, a young teen in our community set to accomplish “big” things, had taken their own life. Shock and utter heartbreak reverberated over the phone as adults wondered aloud at the utter senselessness of what had happened while at the same time, trying to wrap their minds around the situation and figure out ways to offer words of comfort to students, teachers, friends and family left behind.

What often occurs after a suicide is that people start to ask questions. Everyone wants to know what happened, how it happened and most importantly, why it happened.

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The truth of the matter is that most of the time, those questions go unanswered which can create complicated grief and feelings of turmoil that fester for years to come.

Even those who have not been directly impacted by the loss sit and wonder how someone so “beautiful” or someone who “appeared to have it all” could do something so unfathomable and conversations begin about things people could have done differently.

Guilt and blame starts to spread like a wildfire among those left behind— some self-inflicted while others are quick to point fingers and create “scenarios” of what could have been the reason that caused someone to take their own life. The absolute truth of the matter is that sometimes depression, actual clinical depression becomes easy to hide and those that suffer with it become masters at stuffing feelings and putting on that “happy game face” day in and day out.

Depression is an illness and it is one that is overlooked and misunderstood by many people, even today. It is real, it is powerful and it is debilitating. Ask those who suffer from depression what it is like to live inside their mind, their body and they will often tell you about a constant battle that rages within them, a battle that is both exhausting and paralyzing. Asking for help is difficult due to feelings of guilt and shame, so it is often “missed” by those that surround them and love them the most.

As human beings, we must become more aware of how depression is evidencing itself and we must acknowledge that suicide attempts and completions are rising.

That is a fact, a very sobering fact that many do not wish to admit, however it is brutally honest. Check in on your friends and family more. Look beyond smiles and have “real” conversations with people because sometimes, just your presence alone or a few simple words of encouragement might make the difference in a person who is struggling really hard to just make it through one more day. Look harder at actions and behaviors and listen more. Keep in mind, these are actions that we can put into place, but even with that said, depression can still arrive unexpectedly and “trick” us into not seeing what lies below the surface in many people that we love.

My point is, we have to do more and become more aware. We need to engage in more conversations and stop discounting depression as “something you just take a pill for” and start educating ourselves. Let’s address the need for more education and support because depression is real and is not going away- the time is now. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is: 1-800-273-8255.