The muddy pit that is depression doesn’t care about you. It doesn’t respect your schedule or your priorities. If you’ve got some place to be, or you’ve got work to do, or if you haven’t cleaned yourself or your space in days, tough luck, because you’re in the pit and the walls are wet and slippery and impossible to climb.
This feeling of hopelessness is all too common. According to Statistics Canada, 11 per cent of Canadians age 15 to 24 experienced depression at some point in their lives.
So when Katelyn Marie Todd shared a photo and a story of her brushing her hair for the first time after a debilitating bout of depression, along with a plea to take depression seriously, it went very viral very fast.
In it, Todd shares some of the brutal and unflattering side effects of her depression in the post, which include not brushing her hair or teeth for weeks on end, as well as the pain it brings her family and friends to see her in such a state, the constant sadness and empty feeling.
It’s not beautiful, she admits, but it’s reality.
The sheer bravery it took to voice something so personal has got to be praised. And with 239,000 Facebook shares, it’s clear that her message struck a chord with many.
Part of the post reads:
“Depression isn’t beautiful. Depression is bad hygiene, dirty dishes, and a sore body from sleeping too much. Depression is having 3 friends that are only still around because they have the patience and love of a saint. Depression is crying until there’s no more tears, just dry heaving and sobbing until you’re gasping for your next breath. Depression is staring at the ceiling until your eyes burn because you forget to blink. Depression is making your family cry because they think you don’t love them anymore when you’re distant and distracted. Depression is somatic as well as emotional, an emptiness you can physically feel.”
We know mental illnesses still aren’t viewed the same as physical ones, but it’s public posts from real people, like Todd, who are battling real illnesses we can’t see, that are helping to normalize it.
If you or someone you know is dealing with mental illness and needs to talk, the Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868) and Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention offer around the clock aid.