1. Patients and Caregivers
  2. Life Effects
  3. Things That Happened When I Started Talking About My Depression

Things That Happened When I Started Talking About My Depression

Dad holding his little boy in a cornfield, the boy playing with his toy plane
Getty Images / AleksandarNakic

For many people living with depression, the most challenging step to healing is the very first one: talking about it.

Now that I’ve seen both sides of the coin, I realize that something that once seemed like an impossible valley to cross was merely a gate I chose to keep closed.

Don’t get me wrong. It was a difficult process, but I dramatized it in my mind.

I occasionally reminisce about the mindset I had in the days before I launched The One Project, an online community where I started to discuss the issues I was facing through photography.

Years of biting my tongue led to a state of uncertainty. I didn’t understand what I was going through. In the end, it was photography that saved my life.

As fear and anxiety filled my mind, I fought to stay silent. I was so concerned that other people would judge me. I believed that such a confession would make me an outcast.

For those unfamiliar with depression and the stigmas around it, the challenge of needing to speak up might seem insignificant or foreign. This is why I am so vocal about my story and those important moments that changed my life for the better (even if they brought on a new set of challenges).

Here’s what happened after I started talking about my depression:

  1. A weight was lifted and feelings of shame were reduced. When words are unspoken, they can consume you. The anxiety and worry can wear you down. What if someone finds out? This (thankfully) went away.
  2. It sparked conversations that brought me closer to others. Old friends and classmates reached out to share their stories. They understood what I was going through and could relate. For the first time, I knew I was not alone.
  3. My confidence grew tremendously. Not only did I have more strength to handle my recovery, but I was also able to take action and face fears that used to hold me back.
  4. Once it got outside of my head, I started to understand depression better. Sharing with others allowed me to see outside myself. I gained new perspectives from hearing their stories and learning their outlook.
  5. I understood more about how my mind and body work. This allowed me to build better habits and routines while reconnecting with my authentic self. If you hide for a long time, you may get used to it and start to feel disconnected from who you truly are. Speaking up and beginning to work through your depression can change that.
  6. I eventually went to see a therapist, and that helped. I only needed (and could afford) a few sessions to work through key issues. The professional perspective allowed me to work through these issues much faster than I would have done on my own.
  7. As I spoke more about the issues I was dealing with, I gained the tools I needed to help others find therapeutic relief through photography. I built a community. However, it began to overtake me, and a new challenge presented itself as I worked to find a healthy balance.
  8. Some people were uncomfortable with my openness about mental health, and they exited my life. In hindsight, I now see that those weren’t quality friendships anyway. There is still a lot of work to be done to end stigma and propel honest conversations.
  9. With years of hard work, I gained control and drastically reduced my depression and anxiety — moving toward a proactive state of wellness.

The takeaway

In so many ways, speaking about my depression was a pivotal moment for me. And the lessons I learned are things I’ve been able to apply to other areas of my life.

I’m more aware now, and I’m able to catch myself when I feel too overwhelmed to take the first step and speak up.

Now I know that fear and feelings of helplessness are signs that there is something I need to acknowledge or take action on.

The world has evolved immensely since we’ve needed to be wary of mammal predators jumping out of the bushes. Yet we’re still on alert, trying to protect ourselves from judgment and ignorance.

In reality, we often amplify these monsters in our minds. It’s actually much better on the other side.

The information presented is solely for educational purposes, not as specific advice for the evaluation, management, or treatment of any condition.

The individual(s) who have written and created the content in and whose images appear in this article have been paid by Teva Pharmaceuticals for their contributions. This content represents the opinions of the contributor and does not necessarily reflect those of Teva Pharmaceuticals. Similarly, Teva Pharmaceuticals does not review, control, influence or endorse any content related to the contributor's websites or social media networks. This content is intended for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered medical advice or recommendations. Consult a qualified medical professional for diagnosis and before beginning or changing any treatment regimen. 

NPS-US-NP-00338 AUG 2018

I found this article:

Share this article:

You might also be interested in...

Group of young people sitting and talking

5 Terms that Stigmatizes Mental Health (and What to Say Instead)

By Bryce Evans
Read more

How My Mental Health Affects My Parenting Style

By Martin Gallagher
Read more
Woman hunched down on floor with her dog struggling with mental health stigma

4 Myths about Suicide Debunked

By Megan Potts
Read more