09/22/2014 06:39 pm ET Updated Nov 22, 2014

Why I Talk About It Online

Some of you may wish folks would stop talking about depression and have a tough time understanding why people suffering from depression don't just "go on meds." I have a couple of points I'd like to bring forth for said people.

One: Not everyone can afford to go on meds. Some people don't have health insurance. Some people with insurance have a co-pay they can't afford -- for either the doctor or the prescription. Having a monthly bill for meds in addition to food, gas, housing, credit cards, utilities, and student loans (never mind if there are kids in the picture) isn't always something that can be swung.

Two: Please don't ever tell people suffering from depression to stop talking about it. I get it. Yes, hearing about depression is exhausting. Try living with it, then you'll know exhaustion. Also? Talking about my mental health issues with friends, family -- and the total strangers I've connected with via social media and have turned into friends and family -- is what has kept me alive.

If I didn't talk about my mental health issues with my family and friends they wouldn't know to check on me when I'm not present online, at work, or in any other way. It's that absence that has had friends and family (and friends who are family and family who are friends) reach out to me. When I absented myself last month because of the inner turmoil caused by Robin Williams' suicide it was one of the friends I made online (but has long been more than just an online friend) reaching out to my brother to check on me that kept me connected. When there is great upset in my life -- a friend committing suicide, the anniversary of a traumatic event, national tragedy -- and I draw away, my friends and family pull me back in. They don't force their physical or digital presences upon me, but they let me know I'm missed and I'm loved.

When I'm in a bad space and I'm sharing online it's because I need to feel like there's someone listening. Doesn't matter if there's anyone actively listening; I just need the illusion that someone is listening. I'm sorry if my being public about my mental health issues is tiring for you.

I need to put it to you this way: My being public about my mental health issues is how I've gotten a support network that won't let me quit. I refuse to apologize for that.


Have a story about depression that you'd like to share? Email, or give us a call at (860) 348-3376, and you can record your story in your own words. Please be sure to include your name and phone number.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.