March 22, 2014
By , other, United States
I'm really tired of putting on the mask everyday, putting on that smile. And everyone says "Look how happy you are!" While I feel empty, lonely, depressed. I try to take the mask off. I peal off the foundation, take off the smeared mascara, to reveal raw red skin and puffy eyes...but somehow they still don't notice. I've learned to hide it so well, that even my tears don't always leave obvious evidence of being there. I want to just take the smile off. I want people to pick up that something's wrong. But yet I want them to think I've got it all together.
I'm very careful, I go out of my way to keep my secrets.

I put the smile on.

I hide any self-help books about depression when visitors come over.

I keep all depression memoirs or awareness articles anonymous.

I'm careful I don't like to many mental health pages on Facebook, even though I wish I could.

I'm careful not to comment to many personal experiences while helping others on facebook (which holds me back from helping them more effectively).

I have to think up excuses for why I have an "appointment," aka counseling.

I don't buy cute depression awareness t-shirts simply because I know I'd just wear them under a sweatshirt.

I reveal a bit of what I feel, but carefully avoid words like "depressed."

I have to edit out of my testimony the depression parts, and come up with a more vague description of the background behind the songs I write, which takes away from the power of the song and the testimony.

And frankly I am fed up with it. I am fed up with the ideas society has about depression. I'm disturbed by all the stereotypes out there; I'm scared of them. I'm not necessarily ashamed that I have depression; I believe in the long run it has actually made me a better, stronger person; but I don't want to be labeled as the "depressed girl;" I'm not the depressed girl.I don't want my reputation to be ruined. But I don't want to live a lie.
I don't want to stand next to someone who is going through the same thing as me, and not know it, not say anything because I'm too afraid.
I don't want to be held back, wasting time and energy trying to hide everything.
Call me attention-seeking, but I do want to know people care; I want to know that they would accept me unconditionally, that they wouldn't run away when I took the mask off.
I want to inspire people. I want to be real with people. I don't want to stand up and sing and act like I've got it all together, because I don't want someone struggling in the audience to see me and think I'm someone I'm not, and think that they have to be someone their not. I don't want them to think they have to be tougher and more positive than they can be. I don't want them to think you just have to rough through it. I don't want the to think I'm always happy, because that's deceptive to them. I want them to see that no matter how dark the moment is, you're going to be even happier in the end.
I don't want to edit out my testimony. Depression has impacted my life significantly, and has strange as this may sound, and as much as I hate depression,...somehow, my life story would not be as full, beautiful, and inspiring to me, without it.

I don't want to live a lie. Because miracles happen when you are vulnerable. There is this freedom and this joy, this weight off your shoulders, every time you can be accepted no matter what, every time you can relate to someone else, every time you can help someone else because you were real with them. Is that so bad? So "attention seeking?"

You can make a huge difference when you open up. Then there is Demi Lovato, who shared her story and her struggle with mental illness and addiction. She has inspired many people, even saved lives. I know I'm no celebrity, but even average people have made a difference. There is a young mother with GAD and depression who started a Facebook support page for people with anxiety and depression.There are now over 37,000 people receiving hope and encouragement because of her! Also, there is an amaeter singer, Haley Klinkhammer, who has been open about her past struggle with depression, as well, and has touched the lives of many people; I want these opportunities to make a difference like they have.
So I know you're probably thinking, "What is this leading up to??"

Don't worry, I'm not going to announce it on Facebook today; in fact when I do decide to share my story I don't think I will use Facebook to make the first move.
But, overtime, I may let some things leak. I may put my self help books up on my shelf and leave them there.

I may take the smile off sometimes.

I may like more mental health pages.

I may buy depression awareness t-shirts that I adore, and wear them.

But my ultimate dream and goal is to someday share my story. I'm not sure that now is the right time. But I'm thinking maybe my senior year, or when i'm out of high school. I don't want secrets to hold me back, and in the process hold other people back as well.

So call me selfish. Call me attention seeking, depressed, weak, not a good enough Christian, foolish, call me whatever you want. Because in Christ, yes we have struggles and we need to be responsible, but none of our problems have to define us. And that is why I want to be unafraid to say, "I have depression."

If 1 in 5 teens has a mental illness like depression, if over 14 million people in America suffer from it, why do we have to be so quiet? Why is there something wrong with wanting to be heard? Nothing can change if we stay quiet.

So I don't want to be quiet anymore.

"Love is louder than the pressure to be perfect." -Demi Lovato

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