By Allie Marie Smith
Photo by Chlesea Steller
September 9th – 15th, 2018 is Suicide Prevention Week.
When it comes to dark days and nights I get it. I never wanted to die, but I wanted the agonizing pain to end. Part of major depression at its worst is believing a lot of lies: that there is no hope, that you will always be in this much pain, that it never gets better and that the world is better off without you in it.
Those are lies I know too well. After battling episodes of major depression, I know now that it doesn’t mean you will always be in that much pain, that it does getter better and that this world is a more beautiful place because you are in it.
I am a survivor.
Seventeen years ago severe clinical depression first began to violently destroy my picture-perfect world. Deep-seated insecurity, stress, perfectionism, and grave hormonal and physiological imbalances collided, shattering my world into bits of broken pieces.
There are moments when I second guess why I continue to share the ashes of my life instead of forever bury them beneath false appearances of someone who has always had it together.
But I’m alive and full of joy so I will not be silent.
I’ve known the feeling of death and dying within a body that keeps on living. I’ve known the ruminating, relentless thoughts of self-hate. I’ve known what it’s like to want to disappear forever and to believe the lie that world is better off without you in it.
But I also know that hope is real. And that such pain doesn’t equal permanence. I know that God can deliver someone from the symptoms of mental illness and that they can go on to live healthy, vibrant lives.
I believe that mental illnesses are real, but very treatable. Through support from my loved ones, counseling, prayer and medication I have been able to find healing and help. If you are suffering, know you are not alone and that there is hope for you too. Do not give up. Believe that you are irreplaceable and that better days are ahead.
You cannot be replaced. The world is more beautiful because of your existence.
Here are some helpful tips for anyone who is struggling…
Two out of three people who struggle with depression do not seek help. Untreated depression is the leading cause of suicide. If you are struggling it is imperative that you seek help. Finding a counselor, talking to a friend, joining a support group, or calling a hotline can be a great place to start.
Invest in Counseling
View counseling as an investment in your future and wellbeing. Psychotherapy helps you work through the environmental and physiological causes of your mental state and aims to alleviate psychological distress through talking, which can be extremely healing for a person experiencing depression or mental illness.
See A Doctor
Find a psychiatrist who can diagnose your possible disorder and provide you with medication if needed.
Honest, life-giving friendships and relationships promote emotional and mental health. Actively seek a positive community where you can be authentic with your struggles and victories.
Make a Commitment to Your Health
Getting regular exercise and eating a healthy diet can help as part of overall treatment for depression.
To Write Love on Her Arms, www.twloha.com
National Hopeline Network, 1.800.SUICIDE (784-2433)
American Psychological Association Counseling Services Locator, locator.apa.org
Allie Marie Smith is the Founder and Executive Director of Wonderfully Made and is also a professional portrait photograpHer for women and girls. She is the co-host of the Wonderfully Made Podcast and the author of two Bible Studies “Becoming Who You Are In Christ” and “Healthy Eating and Abundant Living.” Allie lives in North Santa Barbara County with her husband Paul where she loves surfing and adventuring up and down California’s golden coast.