Depression can be difficult to understand if you've never experienced it yourself. But one dad has perfectly summed up what it's like to live with the mental illness in one powerful tweet.
On Sunday, U.K. writer Craig Stone shared a photo of his son on Twitter. In the background, a bench can be seen.
"See that bench," Stone wrote. "8yrs ago I sat on it thinking about throwing myself off Blackfriars Bridge. Today, I took this pic of my son. Tomorrow might be the same. But it might also be brighter. It might even bring unimaginable brilliance. Hang in there. Love is always coming. #depression."
In less than 50 words, Stone perfectly captured the unpredictability of depression. The mood disorder can affect anyone at any time and can elicit strong reactions such as anxiety, feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness, and negative thinking. It can also change the way a person feels on a day-to-day basis. One day might be good, but the next might be worse, or it could be even better.
After sharing his personal journey with depression, Stone's tweet went viral with over 21,000 retweets. It also motivated a number of people to reach out and thank Stone for the inspiring message that "love is always coming."
Stone responded to many Twitter users to reiterate his message that they are not alone.
Depression affects everyone differently, but according to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, men with depression are more likely to have feelings of anger and discouragement. Men are also four times as likely to die by suicide than women, although more women attempt suicide.
While Stone and other Twitter users noted their children as their reason for choosing life, it's important to remember that the love of family and friends is not always enough to prevent someone from attempting suicide. The number of celebrities who have taken their own life due to depression reveals this sad reality.
However, as Babble writer and mom Kim Zapata, who previously attempted suicide, points out, "Knowing there is love on the other side does help. Knowing there is light on the other side helps. And having a reason to hang on helps."
Besides talking to family and friends about depression, there are a number of resources available to those who are battling the mental illness. Visit DepressionHurts.ca for more info, or contact your local crisis support line.
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