RodrigoIt’s time to change the dialogue of depression. There is a stigma that depression is a choice, or that you can simply “snap out of it” like a bad dream. But the solution is much more complex because depression itself is a complex human experience.

A year ago, I was ashamed to admit my own depression because I was afraid of what people would think. I thought if I ignored what I was feeling it would go away. Instead, it got worse until I would spend days alone contemplating suicide.

“But, I’m still here”. And every day I find more value in that statement because I know there was a chance that I probably wouldn’t be here writing this. In that year, I learned a lot about myself and depression.

Stop blaming yourself

If you’re going through depression, begin by realizing that depression is a mental disorder that you have no control over. Just like you can’t control when you get sick, you can’t control an episode of depression. Once you let go of the guilt of being depressed, you can focus on what you can control.

Get out of the house

Many times, the same environment can influence how we feel and often perpetuate negativity. Start a new day by taking a walk because, truly, the greatest journeys begin with a single step. This is a small seed that will grow to bigger things. By going outside, you’ll find a lot more things to do like visiting museums, trying new coffee shops, or finding a new bookstore.

Reach out

Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Being alone only echoed my poisonous thoughts and made it that much harder to find the help I needed. If you have family or friends, tell them how you’ve been feeling. You’ll be surprised by how much support you actually have and will help you realize that you’re not alone in fighting this.

Life is long

Lastly, realize your situation is temporary. Hopelessness may seem all too easy to hold on to, but I promise it gets better. As long as you keep an open mind, life can be a long series of opportunities to define your own happiness.

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