I’ve never felt more isolated in my life. My struggles with depression have been a massive defining factor in my life, but my seemingly impossible journey to get people to see me as something other than a symptom has been harder.

The second you tell anyone you suffer from a mental illness you can see their eyes focus on you like you’ve suddenly sprouted another head. They’re looking at you trying to figure out whether or not you’re a “crazy” person. The media has told us that depression is a usually a woman and that it creates a dirty unwashed person crying in bed for days.

For most of us it’s not quite like that.

On a day to day basis it usually involves just trying to see the worth in the little things and trying to drag yourself through the day. It’s more than possible to be a fully high functioning adult. In my own particular case my depression drives me to seek perfection in my work and order in my life. Basically, I try to achieve the unachievable and punish myself when I can’t.

That’s my depression.

But, my depression is often times used as an excuse to marginalize my feelings.

If I’m upset and disagree with something it must be my depression creating negative thoughts and seeing things that just aren’t there. My depression becomes the boogeyman roaming the halls of my interpersonal relationships.

No one feels responsible for the way they treat me they’ve decided that it doesn’t matter because I’ll be “sad” anyways or I’m “always” sad.

Dismissive attitudes and crass words are supposed to just slide off depression woman and fall quietly onto the piles of sorrow she carries with her.

It’s almost too convenient, isn’t it?

My depression has taught me to love myself and to fight for the person I am. I refuse to let my depression dictate my self worth and I refuse to let others force me into silence simply because my feelings are a burden.

I am more than my brain chemistry and I deserve authenticity.