My name is Jillian Hiscock, and I struggle with depression.
There. I said it. It’s out in the open. Now let’s talk about it.
Most who know me see a bubbly, fast-talking, energetic young woman with a passion for living life to its fullest. While this is definitely a huge part of who I am, there is another side of me that far fewer people have ever witnessed, and it is what I consider my “perfectly flawed” self.
The Minnesota sports community was rocked recently with news of the death of Tim Allen, local blogger and writer for the Minnesota Timberwolves. The loss of yet another young life to mental illness really shook me and has reignited my desire to demystify mental illness in our society. According to a April 2012 CDC report, 1 in 10 U.S. adults report suffering from depression. 1 in 10 adults! Yet for so many of us, the issue of mental illness is still considered taboo and only meant for discussion behind closed doors.
Well, I’m opening that door.
My college boyfriend first started noticing signs of depression in me during our sophomore year in college. I was always tired and wanted to stay in bed instead of going to class, hanging out with my friends or eating dinner. I was chalking it up to being an overworked college student, but through some gentle nudging on his part, finally spoke to my family doctor about what I was feeling. She confirmed what I had suspected and didn’t want to admit: I was struggling with depression.
Over the next several months, we worked diligently to determine the proper medication and dosage for my depression. This was probably one of the most frustrating parts of my mental illness for me–I felt so helpless and hated the fact that I needed a pill in order to feel ‘normal.’ I struggled with this feeling for years and only after several conversations with family and friends did I get to a point where I can comfortably say “I take antidepressants, and I’m okay with that.”
Now I live a relatively ‘normal’ life with my perfectly flawed self. I still have days that I need to stay in bed for hours in order to work up enough energy to face the world. But luckily for me and all those around me, my depression is managed well with the help of a daily dose of SSRIs and the constant love and support of my family and friends. I know I am one of the lucky ones who has people around me who I can talk to about my mental illness without feeling judged or misunderstood. There are a lot of people who don’t have that support and that’s where you come in. Tell the people you love how you feel about them. Be an active listener. Talk to others about your feelings. Everyone can have a role in taking away the stigma surrounding mental illness.
And if you don’t know how else to help, perhaps you’ll consider supporting the Mental Health Association of Minnesota through a memorial Nathan Eide (@nathaneide) created for Tim Allen. We cannot sit idly by and watch this illness take another life.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, please contact the Mental Health Association of Minnesota. Help is available. People do care. You are loved…in your own perfectly flawed way.