After yesterday’s post, I noticed something that disturbed me, so today we’re going to do an unscientific experiment. Here’s the selfie I took today around 12:45 p.m.
Now here’s the selfie I took seven minutes later.
Based on these two photos, what would you guess my depression level to be today? A five or six? Lower? Higher?
Yesterday I ranked my depression level at a 7. I was feeling good, not fantastic but better than my even keel 5. The selfie I posted was after I put on makeup and did my hair.
For the first time since starting this chronicle, I got several Likes on the FB post. So this got me wondering, are these likes because I said my rank was a 7 or because my photo looks more “normal”?
In either case, this troubles me. Because I’m the same person regardless of the effect depression has on me and my appearance.
I’m not looking for praise or accolades on the days I look like a high functioning depressive. Nor am I looking for sympathy on the days when I look like I got pulled through a bush backwards. This is simply a chronicle of my depression via daily selfies. Depression is always going to be a part of my life. No amount of makeup, styling product or nice clothes will make it go away. No amount of likes, emojis, supportive texts or consoling words will make me feel less depressed. This is part of who I am. It’s part of what makes me sensitive, compassionate and creative. It’s also part of what makes me irritable, sad and impatient at times.
I have tools that help me manage the moments when depression envelops everything I do. One of those tools is talking about it openly so that the stigma associated with depression can be eliminated. But changing people’s attitudes about something that’s invisible to the naked eye in many instances is difficult. My goal with the Faces of Depression project is to make the invisible visible. To make it less scary for folks who are struggling with depression to speak their truth. To be full of moxie and say “I have depression, but it’s not the sum total of who I am.”
Today is National Depression Screening Day. If you think you or someone you know might be depressed, there are self-assessment tests available online. If you are in the United States, check this website to find online depression screening resources for your state, as well as a list of area hotlines, clinics and health care facilities to help you find care.
And in case you’re wondering, I’m at a 7 today.