It is one of the hardest things in the world to love someone with depression. It is incredibly difficult to love someone that really can’t love themselves. But the most important thing you can do is love them. And the worst thing you can do is give up on someone that has already given up on themselves. — Alexandra Dale Taylor

Society may tell us that mental illness is something to be ashamed of. This is not true. We should acknowledge mental illness the same way we acknowledge physical illnesses, without shame and regret. It certainly should not be hidden. By opening up and having conversation about mental illness, we can help those that really need it and better their quality of life.

1 in 5 adults in America experience a mental illness. Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. 90% of those who passed away by suicide have an underlying mental illness, making it the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. (*Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness). In other words, if you are facing this, you are not alone.

It’s not easy to be vulnerable. For me, it scares the hell out of me. To this day, it’s hard for me to deal with losing friends to suicide. It changed how I felt about college in a weird way. It’s like their story wasn’t finished, and to say goodbye to young person is hard. It’s hard for me to tell friends about the mental illnesses that goes on in my family. I’m still in the need to find someone to trust and talk to stage. Why is this? What made it worst is exposing how I felt to a insensitive group of professors who pretended they cared but didn’t. Seeing my friends’ suicide and mental illnesses as a joke or not a “legit” reason to miss a class or two highly offended me. I was given the impression that they though I was making it up to get out of class. I assumed that they were uncomfortable with the information I was telling them and they judged me. I expected too much from a school that never cared. The attitudes I faced even with obituaries hurt.

Since I was made fun of before, I felt like others would use the information against me. I actually did have some sweet trustworthy people reach out to me. I was afraid to tell them anything so I didn’t. I hope I get my opportunity in the future. Only time will tell.

I’m not opposed to being open. Finding the right people to trust is a whole other story.

Nowadays, The feeling of knowing you helped someone, just by sharing your own story and then took the time to listen to theirs, is the greatest gift you can ever give and receive.-Tim McDonald

A version of this appears in the Huffington Post.

If you or know someone that needs help, call 1–800–273–8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Hello! I’m Alesha! I’m a musician, actress, entrepreneur and writer and recent hospital patient (I still can’t believe that is real).Follow on Twitter. Let me know what you want me to write! Click here! I’m writing for Thrive Global, who’s mission is to change the way we work and live. As stated by Arianna Huffington, for far too long, we have been operating under a collective delusion that burning out is the necessary price for achieving success. This could be less true. All the latest science is conclusive that, in fact, not only is there no trade-off between living a well-rounded life and high performance, but performance is actually improved when we prioritize our health and well-being. It’s time to move from knowing what to do to actually doing it. With Thrive Global leading the way, I’m confident that we can have a mindset change on work-life balance. If you like what I’m writing, give me a heart and share! 🙂

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