So, it’s no secret that Wil Wheaton is one of my favorite individuals, and wilwheaton.net is my favorite thing he does, and with that, the number 1 thing I love about him (as opposed to his creations) is his honesty about, well, everything, but particularly about his battle with depression and anxiety. As beautifully displayed in the linked blog post above.
“You are not alone” may be a bit cliche and overused when it comes to mental illness, and I know when I was younger I thought it was crap, and why would anyone ever want to hear that? But that’s because I wasn’t seeing the whole story. What I saw was: “You feel like crap, but don’t worry because other people feel like crap too!” And I just didn’t understand how knowing that other people felt miserable was supposed to make me or anyone dealing with anxiety, depression, name-your-problem feel better. Sure, it allows for support groups and other communities, but I don’t want other people to feel like this just so I can not feel alone! I’d rather be alone than wish my pain on anyone else! (and that’s even mostly true for my minor pains and inconveniences…)
The key I was missing back then, though, was the fight. The “It gets better.” The “Yeah, it’s tough, it sucks right now, I dealt with all that too [and probably still do], but trust me, when you start to win the battles (even though you won’t win them all), you feel like you’re winning the war. And every battle gets a little easier, because you get a little better. And sure, you might get caught off guard sometimes, but every war victory has come with a few battle losses, and you’ll be all the stronger for it in the end.” Etc. etc.
Basically, what Wil said: “The thing is, I wouldn’t know that it’s going to get better if I hadn’t spent lots of time talking with my doctor and other humans who suffer from depression and anxiety.” Though I would add that it’s important to talk to people who have successfully managed at least most of it, or, even better, overcome it. I know those things are often lifetime things, but they can be managed, and it’s good to see that.
Anyway, this post is a must-read. It was just one of those things that filled me with that evangelical zeal, that feeling that everyone I know must read it. So I hope you do.