According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 16 million Americans had at least one major depressive episode in 2012. That’s 6.9% of the population. And according to the World Health Organization, 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression, making it by far the leading cause of disability.
So the chances are that at least one person in your life is battling depression. Depression can stop someone from being able to do the most basic things. Just take this post from Katelyn Marie Todd, who recently took to Facebook to explain her battle.
"I brushed my hair today. For the first time in 4 weeks. It was matted and twisted together. It snapped and tore with every stroke. I cried while I washed and conditioned it, because I forgot how it felt to run my fingers through it. I brushed my teeth, too, for the first time in a week. My gums bled. My water ran red. I cried over that, as well. When I got out of the shower, I couldn't stop sniffing my hair and arms. I've avoided hugging people for a while, because I never smell good. I always smell like I've been on bedrest for a week. I have no clean clothes, because I'm too tired and sad to wash them."
"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."
"Please be easy on your friends and family that have trouble getting up the energy to clean, hang out, or take care of themselves. And please, please take them seriously if they talk to you about it. We're trying. I swear we're trying. See? I brushed my hair today."
Todd's post has attracted over 230,000 shares and thousands of supportive comments. One user wrote:
"Thank you for sharing this. I struggle with depression too, my husband and my mom are the only ones who seem to understand. I only have a few friends left, they don't understand but they don't give up on me because of how long we have been friends and how strong our bond is. Sometimes they get upset with me, not knowing that its making it worse, because I just don't feel like even answering the phone. This struggle is real, and we really need more awareness about it."
While another added:
"Depression is different for each individual. They go through it differently. Some can make themselves function, some just don't have it in them. But until you have had this kind of depression I'll dare you sit and judge someone, I'll dare you to tell them to get up an do something about it. It's a sicknesses, so do not judge."
If you or someone you know may be struggling with depression, don't hesitate to talk to a trusted counselor, medical professional, or friend or family member for support. You can also call the Suicide Prevention Services Crisis Hotline at 800-784-2433 or text the Crisis Text Line to talk to trained crisis counselors via text.