Imagine seeing a terrible movie on your day off. The characters were simple and poorly constructed, the acting was mediocre, and the plot was so morbid that you would sooner shoot your own toes off then see it again. Soon after you saw the movie, you begin to have nightmares. When you went to tell your friends and colleagues about these nightmares, you described it in such a way that encouraged them to learn more. They want to know just how terrible this movie was, and more importantly, be able to empathize with you when you describe your nightmares in the future. Fortunately, the film was banned from theaters worldwide just a few short days after you went to see it, but this meant your friends would have to find other ways of learning more about the awful movie that has caused you so many nightmares. Your friends, desperate to experience and share in your discomfort, began researching the plot using notes and articles written by those who saw the movie first hand. Despite their best efforts to console you, you continue to have nightmares. You realize while their kind words of encouragement and reassurance are somewhat comforting, they are also not helpful because your friends have not seen the film.
The previous hypothetical situation, though rather hyperbolic, is the best way I know how to describe life with Clinical Depression. If you think of Depression as the terribly frightening movie from the previous situation, the analogy begins to make more sense. Allow me to further explain the analogy:
Those with Depression are the only ones who saw the “awful film” before it was banned from theaters. When those with Depression describe their struggle with the disorder to their friends and loved ones, they entice them to learn more, just as they described the “nightmares” they were having. Loved ones and friends try to research Depression just as they researched the plot of the terrible film. When the loved ones and friends of those with Clinical Depression try to comfort them about the disorder, they can only speak from what they have learned from researching its causes and symptoms, and cannot begin to understand the severity of the condition (nightmares in the analogy) because they do not have Depression. In other words, Depression is like a terrible movie that only those who suffer from it have seen. Those who wish to comfort Depression victims may speak from the heart, but never from experience.
Now that I have described a day in the life of a Clinical Depression victim, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jacob Neff. I am a high school senior who has made it his mission to erase the public’s stigma surrounding mental health and more specifically, Clinical Depression. So this past September, I, along with fellow Depression victim Robbie Milton, founded the Who Cares Foundation, in hopes to raise awareness and bust myths about Depression.
In my ten years living with Chronic Depression, I have been through the terrors of this mental disorder. I have attempted suicide. I have thought of harming others. I have woken up in the morning and not left my room all day because I could not bring myself to move an inch, let alone be a productive member of society. My mind is an incredibly dark place, but I refuse to let it become pitch-black. The light needed to break through the darkness comes from the ones I love and those I hold dear. With them in my life, I will surely succeed. They have proven that there is always a reason to continue the fight.
I do not mean to sadden you with my experiences and troubles, I simply mean to validate my claim that I am surely and wholeheartedly committed to the support and care of those who struggle to get out of bed in the morning. I know what it is like to be depressed, and moreover, I know what is most helpful to Depression victims. We need someone who knows what Depression is and how devastating it can be. Unfortunately, today’s society is one that will rush to sign your cast when you break an arm or a leg, but run the other way when you seem depressing and sad. That is exactly why I founded the Who Cares Foundation, because Depression victims need people who understand, at least on a basic level, what they are going through! The more people we can educate, the more people Depression victims can talk to in times of despair. It is about time we “raise awareness for those who could care less.”
To find out more about the Who Cares Foundation, follow them on Twitter and Instagram (@WCFUSA) and visit www.whocaresfoundation.blogspot.com