I want to talk about Depression and Anxiety


Probably not what most people want to do.. but I genuinely want to talk about depression and anxiety.

I don’t feel special anymore for having dealt with depression and anxiety. This is because Anxiety Disorders are the most common disorders in the US, with 40 million people (18% of the population). Anxiety Disorders are highly treatable, but only 1/3 will receive treatment.

Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, with an estimated 350 million people of all ages who suffer.

I just can’t wrap my head around how this epidemic is so largely swept under the rug. How can we ignore that this many people are feeling hopeless, can’t get out of bed, are empty, are contemplating or completing suicide, and have constant anxiety?

Do we talk about? Yeah, sort of? Most every time I hear a well-intentioned person talking about depression, it’s in such a soft and pitiful tone. Like we are scared to talk about depression because we might catch it.

Depression is scary. Your mind and world turns grey, and often times there is no logic.

I deal with bipolar depression, and if I hear one more time to “just think about what you’re thankful for,” I just might punch something. Depression is not a choice. It can affect anyone, and I do mean anyone. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you own. Sure, circumstances can add to it, but a lot of times depression happens for no reason at all. A person with depression has a sick brain. They cannot decipher reality for the time being.

Let’s be honest, depression sucks. A lot. While writing this post, I’m in a great place in my life. Hindsight on my depression is 20/20. I had the worst depression of my life the spring of 2013. I told myself I’d never be fooled by depression again. Then came spring 2014, 2015, and most recently 2016, which was the worst one since.

If you treat depression like it’s in someone’s power, you’ve got it all wrong already. It encompasses the whole person. Everything feels meaningless. Why try. I’m not good at anything. Everyone is better than me in every aspect of my life. I have no place in this world. No one would really care if I left. Nothing is fun. No one understands. I want to be included, but even more than that I want to lay in this bed all day.

Darkness was my best friend for those 5 months in 2013. All I wanted to do was crawl in my bed and sleep. Because sleep meant nothingness and it meant escape. And I needed to escape from my own brain, which is mostly impossible.

There’s nothing worse than being afraid of yourself.

This is how depression makes me feel. I am genuinely afraid of my own mind. I can’t process most of what someone is saying to me. Getting dressed is a huge process. Following the storyline of a movie is impossible. Laughter isn’t really a thing. Everyone has their life in order. They all look so happy. They know what they’re good at, and they’re making life happen for themselves. God isn’t real. How could God do this to me?

I could hardly talk to my therapist during my sessions this past spring. Back in May, after I told her I’m a stupid person, she asked me, “so, you feel stupid?”

I said through my tears with such conviction that, “No. I don’t feel stupid. I am stupid.”

We both cried.

And I really appreciated it. She carried my hurt for that moment. I made a definitive statement about myself. No, I don’t feel stupid and awkward. I am stupid. And I am awkward.

I look back and I cry, because I was wrong about myself. I am capable. I am smart, beautiful, and loved. But my mind wouldn’t let me see it.

Let’s talk about depression and anxiety. Please.


mental illness awareness week film


MIAW is this week Oct 2-8. My goal is to shine light where there is a lot of darkness in our country, around the world, and in our hearts right now. Having a severe mental illness has been tough to say the least, and receiving slim to none understanding over the past years hasn’t helped.

If your heart or any other organ is chronically sick, there’s usually no hesitation to get help or to talk to someone about it. With our brains, for whatever reason, it’s a different story. Admitting you have a mental illness is usually done under your breath if at all. And it’s mostly met with “why would you ever admit that.”

I’m a part of 2.6% of the population with Bipolar Disorder. Dbsalliance.org says that 1 in 5 people with Bipolar Disorder will complete suicide. That is a devastating statistic for me. A 1 in 5 chance to live is not a comforting reality and shouldn’t be accepted. This is part of what motivates me to educate others on our illness. Because it is an illness that has been around since the beginning of time, not our imagination. While the manias and depressions are beyond awful, the associated shame and stigma is hell on earth.

People with severe mental illness used to be treated like animals, chained in prisons, hung and thought to be witches, lobotomized, and basically treated as sub human throughout history. I wish I could say this has improved far more drastically than it actually has. (http://www.inquiriesjournal.com/…/the-history-of-mental-ill…)

After I left Clemson finally in the Fall of 2014, after having been sexually assaulted by a student there, being sent into a severe manic episode, and overdosing twice within a week, I went to an inpatient facility for a 2 hour interview where they deemed my case “not severe enough” to stay there. There’s nowhere to go.

I wrote a fan letter to a strong woman in the sport’s industry, Samantha Ponder, where I told her I was coming to terms with leaving Clemson and having Bipolar Disorder. And I was treated by ESPN security like a criminally insane stalker for it. I’m now apparently on a list to look out for, because I told this woman I wanted to be like her one day. I can’t help but feel that if I had a different illness that that letter would have been received completely different.

Education. Conversation. Long term treatment in conjunction with acute treatment. Understanding. Acceptance. Erasing the stigma. These are so desperately needed.

If you would share this post or my one from a couple days ago in hopes of allowing others to be more aware of mental illness, that would be wonderful. Mental Illness affects all of us in some way whether we want it to or not. Might as well do something about it.

“Our purpose is in our pain” -Brandon Marshall