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I am depressed.

Updated: Apr 23, 2023

The minute I wake up. A random moment in the day. In my photos on social. Now, as I write this blog post.

I often talk about my story as a kidney cancer survivor—in fact, this entire business is built on that one truth. But rarely do I discuss my lived experiences with mental illness. I may mention my depression and anxiety in passing; I may let the words roll off my tongue as facts that bear no significance. I treat my mental health as something purely clinical—as a medical diagnosis in an old chart somewhere.

I give no value to my mental health because I’ve so deeply internalized the stigma around it.

Even now, I struggle to be vulnerable beyond writing that I have depression—that I’ve lived with depression for 22 years. I struggle to acknowledge my anxiety (and, more recently, my disordered eating) as anything more than “things I have to deal with.”

After all, others have it worse—a refrain I’ve heard since childhood.

After all, I’m such a warrior—I can get through anything.

After all, what do I have to be sad about?

That’s not how mental health works. It’s not contingent only upon external factors; external factors are influences, not causes. It cannot be explained away by single events in time; it’s enduring, existing despite beginnings and endings.

Mental health cannot be “fixed” by…

❌ a new diet

❌ a new exercise program

❌ a new mindset

❌ a new lifestyle modification

Mental health cannot be “solved” by some New Age cleanse made of sulfur and beet juice.

I’m not sure if I will ever get to this point of vulnerability—or laying bare all of the twisted ways my depression and anxiety manifest. I do try, when I reveal that I workout so often as a way to run as far away from my feelings as possible—to grind my body into nothing but dust, because that is all it should be. This, though, is dismissed; see shrugs 1-3.

I don’t want this for you.

I won’t tell you to reach out; I know how hard it can be to. I won’t tell you that you are strong, that you will get through this; I know it can often feel as if that’s not true. But…

I’m grateful you’re alive.

I want to give you grace.

I hope you find moments of peace.


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