There’s an app on Facebook called On This Day. It allows you to look back at status statements you’ve posted on this day over the past years. Yesterday I saw a post I had made where I used the hashtag #stigmafighter. There is a huge stigma surrounding depression, even now when many efforts have been made to minimize it. I’ve been on both sides of depression, more than once. It’s not just being sad or having a difficult period. It can be a crushing, suffocating black hole that sucks you in no matter how hard you are scrabbling to get out. It saps your energy, emotionally, physically, and mentally. It’s almost impossible to describe how desolate you can feel even when people around you can’t see why you’re “so down.”

I haven’t been lost in that place in over a decade, thanks to therapy and medication, but I still skirt the borderlands sometimes. This morning I was out for a walk in the crisp fall air, enjoying a feeling of exhilaration and the play of sunlight on the leaves and it occurred to me how far I have traveled from that place. Being happy was at one time so far out of my grasp I thought it would never return.

I’m writing about this today once again to fight the stigma, but mainly I’m writing to those who might read this who are in that black hole. There’s hope, even if you can’t feel it. Talk to someone. If you don’t have anyone in your life you feel you can trust go to http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

There’s more to come, my friends. Choose to continue. There’s life after the semicolon.