We live in a world where capturing anything on camera is as simple as reaching into your pocket, swiping up and pressing a button. Ninety-nine percent of the population has probably done those steps seamlessly in under two seconds on a handful of occasions.
The baby stands up and walks for the first time, we can capture it. The boyfriend gets down on one knee, we can capture it. A husband learns he’s going to be a dad for the first time, we can capture it.
People today hold tighter to photos than ever before, because they invoke emotion. In all three of those examples, you can experience the joy, the excitement, the overwhelming feeling that is so indescribable there isn’t a word for it—you just have to see it.
We can document emotions of every kind, and we most often opt to capture happiness.
Rarely do we see photos of those who are depressed, suicidal, suffering from mental illness and hiding from the world. Or do we?
If you looked at a photo of someone who is depressed, would you know it?
As part of National Suicide Prevention Month, Instagram users took to social media with the hashtag #FacesOfDepression to show what depression, suicidal thoughts and mental illness actually looks like.
This photo was taken just 7 hours before I tried to take my own life for the 3rd time. This photo was taken in the morning, we went for a walk and for some food with Eli. We laughed and enjoyed our time. That evening I took an overdose that left me in hospital for a week. . I had no idea I’d try to take my own life in the morning, I was smiling and loved the way my hair looked hence the selfie. Having BPD (undiagnosed for so long because the NHS wouldn’t listen) means that my mood can switch to suicidal in seconds over the slightest trigger. . Suicidal isn’t just crying, for those with a troubled life and long build ups to breaking point, it’s also snap decisions made whilst your son sleeps in the same house and your loving partner kissed you goodnight hours before. . We need to learn how suicidal tendencies can present themselves beyond our ignorance to the topic. By listening and learning even the tiniest triggers/signs we can save lives. ❤️
“I used alcohol to wash down 247 aspirin and 11 Percocet and somehow survived. For years I drove without a seatbelt in the hopes that even the smallest accident would take my life. One time I even went 4 months without putting gas in my car because I never left my room. This meant I’d sometimes go 3 days without eating or leaving my bed. I’ve never told anyone about the peace I feel when I think of ending my life because I don’t want them to talk me out of it.”
Depression doesn’t have a ‘LOOK’ I can stand up, have a bomb ass day and still be suicidal. Depression is cruel and unforgiving, sometimes the day I ‘look’ the least depressed I’m suffering the hardest. . There’s a stigma of having to look fragile, broken, make up running, bottle of vodka and a suicide note in your hand to be worthy of help/attention for your pain. . Depression is cowering away in bed. Depression is also faking a smile in public. Depression is sometimes being exhausted getting out of bed. Depression is also excessive bursts of energy to try and distract yourself. Depression is crying, self loathing and dread. Depression is also laughing and trying to fit in. Depression is dark black and cold. Depression is also leading a ‘normal’ life and appearing ‘functioning’ Depression is agony. Depression is also a friend, a comfort. . Don’t judge. You never know what someone is going through behind a smile or a laugh. Be gentle. You’ve no idea how much a kind word could mean to someone. Depression doesn’t have a ‘face’, stop the stigma.
“My daughter was well. The night before she ended up in the hospital they went to the daddy daughter dance and had an amazing time. Thankfully she’s still alive today and learning to beat her illness. She was 8 at the time.”
“How do you tell your best friend, your lover, my partner, that you want them to leave you? That you wished that you were dead so you would stop being a burden to him. After the birth of my third child I became more and more depressed with life. Everyone else seemed to love their children, playing with them, taking them on play-dates while I struggled everyday just to get out of bed. Many days I felt like I was drowning…drowning in obligation, and social expectation.”
“This is my boyfriend two weeks before hanging himself. Will never understand it…”
“My depression is a black hole that I can’t escape from, a dark mental torture chamber. I am never good enough and am always failing. I look at my life and see everywhere I could be doing better. I never fully believe that someone would choose to be friends with me.”
These are the #FacesOfDepression. Our cameras can’t portray the depths of darkness that some are walking through on a daily basis. In fact, they hide it completely. They help to convince everyone else that things are okay, and they make it so that onlookers have no reason to look deeper.
If you are struggling with depression, mental health or thoughts of suicide, I beg you, PLEASE stop hiding behind the lens. It’s hashtags like #FacesOfDepression that are getting the conversation going. They’re transforming taboo discussions into life-saving dialogue that the world desperately needs.
And for those on the outside, my prayer is that you’d be so close and honest with your friends that they feel comfortable coming to you with their battles. We weren’t made to live with masks, but instead with joy and freedom!
Depression is nothing to be ashamed of and can only be treated if it’s talked about. So let’s start talking.