All my life I have been putting on a happy face. Making sure no-one really knows what I’m feeling. There are sometimes when that happy face is genuine and there are times when it’s covering up the pain.
I have never been public with it. Most people don’t know I have it, some think it’s just a bad day, but no one really knows the true darkness I see. I don’t fault anyone, nor have I ever. How would they know if I have mastered the gift of covering up? That’s what 40+ years of practice can do.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and I thought maybe it’s time to get over my embarrassment and be fully transparent. If my story could help one person, then I wrote this for you. I guess I’m hoping opening up can continue helping me too. This is something you just can’t turn off, so if I can step outside my “Pride” palace then maybe I can breathe better.
You see, I’ve battled depression and I have been silent about it my whole life. A couple of years ago I finally opened up to my wife and she told me to get help. At first, I didn’t want to, and for a year I fought it. But then last year I finally reached out to see if this counseling shit would work.
Expectations and responsibilities have helped me bury my pain, but depression always found its way up for air. It’s always sitting in the back of my head even when my days seem happy. It wakes up in the morning, out of the blue, and tells me I will be with you today. It sees me focused on work, gaining great momentum, and it knocks on my brain and reminds me it’s not going anywhere.
How can you tell someone how you feel when you don’t really know how you feel? I sometimes feel like I am lying to myself. “You’re not sad Wilton, you’re just going through a moment. Stay locked in and it will go away.”
Stay locked in… That’s one thing I am good at. I feel like a balloon. You can blow me up as big as you want, it even feels like I am going to pop but little by little the air is let out and the balloon, I mean me, is back to normal.
But then you get that real thin balloon and you blow it up like the last one, but this time it pops. That’s when everything starts rolling downhill. That’s when I run over everyone’s words and feelings. Especially mine. I feel like a freight train, in a dark tunnel, without breaks not caring if it stops.
I hate trains! 😫
I honestly don’t know if I would be here today if it wasn’t for my faith and my family. If it wasn’t for my faith and church community boy I don’t even want to think about where I would be. I reminded myself God tells me when it’s time, not me.
Even though my family doesn’t know the internal battles I fight, how can I be selfish and leave this earth on my terms? I don’t want my kids to ask mommy why daddy is not coming home. I want to leave this earth knowing I gave all I could. Leaving them inspired by my actions.
I am not writing this for pity or sympathy, I am not suicidal, and I am in a place where I have control of it. But the battle is not over and I continue to get help for it. Having that opportunity to talk to someone without judgment, preconceived notion or resentment of your past allows for recovery and healing.
All I know is that we all have some level of depression. Some more than others, obviously. But not getting help and not knowing where your mental battle is, can soon turn into something that you will regret.
Talking to a friend, close family member, or even a church leader is not the answer. They will definitely be there for you and try to help you through it, but mental health must be handled without bias opinions so you can truly get the help needed for recovery. Depression is a bitch and without treatment, you can hurt more than just yourself.
I don’t even know why I wrote this. I just started to type away. I am sure this story has been heard a thousand times. But behind each of those stories, there’s a person and their battles. A person putting it all out there to make a difference and be judged. I am sure there will be people saying they never saw it, why didn’t you say anything, you know you could have told me, and all those others “you could have come to me” statements.
Don’t think no one understands. You might be looking in the wrong places. We all have something great to live for. We just can’t see it during those mental battles.
Just getting it off my chest and out of my head has given me more power. Power that I know I will continue to beat this. We have to keep getting up, push forward, and don’t allow that depression devil to win. Find your purpose, find your motivation to be happy. You are not alone, we are in this fight together, Wilt
#MentalHealth #Depression #GettingHelp #OpeningUp #ItWillBeDefeated #BlockJudgement #YourOpinionMatters#AwarenessMonth #AskWilt
#DepressionHotline 1-800-662-4357 #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline 1-800-273-8255