I want to talk about depression.
I want to talk about the ways depression has pulled my body toward the ground. It has left dark circles under my eyes and sloped my shoulders forward.
I attempted to write something clever here. After half a dozen drafts, I decided I’d rather just be honest.
My name is Cole Farrell, and I am a person who lives with mental illness.
Let me put it all out on the table: I have, at different times and to varying degrees of severity, experienced deep depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, intrusive thoughts, and hyperactivity marked by obsessive-compulsive behavior. These things started to find me when I was very young and they haven’t lost me yet.
At its best, my quirky brain really works. I am capable of wild creativity and expansive empathy—things I really value. At its worst, my brain works against me.
I write here in hopes that coming out about the darkness can help me emerge from it. I’ve come out before, and what I want now is to be out out out out out all the way out. I want to live.
I have so many reasons to live. I have stories to tell. Those stories are impossible until I’m able to tell this one.
I have reasons to be afraid, too. That exposing my struggles might lead me to be seen as weak or ineffectual. That I’ll be judged in the same way I’ve judged other people. That my oversharing could one day be the reason Aric and I are turned down by a polite adoption agency employee with a clipboard.
But the darkness lies. It kicks me to the floor and presses a boot into my back. It tricks me into believing that silence is noble, that suffering is a virtue. I’m done with that lie. So I’m going to start writing the truth here. This is how it starts: with a confession.
Let’s start a conversation. I want to reject shame and mark a milestone in my life. So many of us suffer in silence and think we’re doing something heroic. I am hoping—no, I am confident that I can find a tribe of people, however small, who say “I’m so thankful to not be alone in this anymore.”
We’ll find some levity, too. It won’t be all doom and gloom. An earlier draft of this post had references to Amy Schumer, Matilda the Musical, Wet Hot American Summer and Bill Nye. But, like they have for much of my life, jokes were keeping me from doing the hard work that has to come first.
I believe YOU deserve light and life. I believe I do too.