From Dr. Amen: When my patient Kelly, 24, showed me the blog she posted on Facebook I was so moved by it that I asked if we could share it with our community. It is reprinted with her permission.

Amen Clinics Feature: Mental Health Issues Are Real

Kelly Gibbons

Author: Kelly Gibbons
Date: January 2, 2016

At the very start of a brand new year, this post isn’t going to be easy to write. Though difficult subject matter in a sensitive time, I am choosing to post this because I feel that it’s necessary.

Over the past few years I’ve been subject to an astonishing amount of loss; not only the loss of people near and dear to my own heart, but that of friends and family members dear to the hearts of people who I love and the community that I grew up in. These days, with the rise of social media, it has become more apparent to me just how many people who I know and love individually are linked to one another; unknown common connections are time-lined in front of me with correlating feelings of loss when tragedy strikes. Though every situation relating to loss is different and impacts us each in different ways, situations regarding the mind and spirit leave me wondering what (if anything) could be said or done in order to allow people who struggle with any and all inner demons to feel understood and cared for and worth it.

I’m going to say something now that has been foolishly deemed as controversial to society in the past: MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES ARE REAL; and if you are someone who avoids and dismisses that fact or makes any other human feel judged/uncomfortable for being open about mental struggles, I feel bold enough to say that you are contributing to the problem.

Now I’m going to say something that I’ve never publicly admitted— probably due to the societal stigma that surrounds the idea: I have been struggling with clinical depression and anxiety for 11 years. I am still here because I know how important it is to talk about. I’m here because I know how important it is to teach others about. I am still here because I have seen how loss affects people around me and people who care. I am here because I told my family I needed help. I am still here because I am not ashamed to go to therapy every other week. I am still here because I have supporting souls in my life who listen to me even when they don’t understand me or how I’m feeling some(most)times.

Talking about what hurts is important; I can’t stress that enough. When someone is in physical pain, he or she visits the doctor to determine what is wrong and how to fix it. When you break your arm, it’s set in a cast and you’re back to you within a few weeks’ time. Mental pain is a more complex beast. We are conditioned by society to feel ashamed when our brains don’t mimic the idea of happiness that we see in others and try to implement within ourselves. We are conditioned to believe that people feel sympathy and compassion much more readily for those whose pain is physical or apparent.

If you’re on the other side of a tragic loss, please don’t beat yourself up. Please don’t blame yourself. It is natural to feel angry at times, but it is not your fault. And it is not the fault of the person you lost. A troubled mind is the most intricate and devastating puzzle.

Please talk to someone if you hurt. Talk to someone if you suspect that they might be hurting. Tell the people who you love that you love them and do it often. Care for people and surround yourself with people who care for you. Allow others to feel purposeful and remind people that they are worth it. Remember also that you are worth it.

My heart and love goes out to the family and friends back home who are coping with the recent loss of a sweet friend/brother/son. We will always reflect on the charisma and humor that we were able to experience while being in the presence of a bright soul who we now realize was concealing a heartbreaking struggle.

If you can see this, I care about you. If you can’t see this, I care about you. People matter… please don’t lose sight of that.

I love you all, I really do.

Are you suffering from depression? Learn more.

  • Susan Hickey

    Kelly that was well written with your heart wide open! I can so easily relate but have never had the guts to do what you did!! I admire your braveness and your courage to set out to make a difference in this world especially in times we are enduring. God bless you on your journey!!

  • QueenBee

    You are very brave. I admire your courage for speaking your truth.
    Grief nearly killed me 3 years ago. The loss of so many people, through life and through death. Grief is grief is grief. Period.
    I’ve struggled with clinical depression for 20+ years. There is no shame in my game. If I save one life by telling my story, then I’m okay with that.
    You, young lady, may have just saved a life or two yourself.
    Keep writing. Keep using your Voice.