Meet The Mom Who’s Tackling Depression One Photo At A Time

September 6, 2017
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A mother has shared two strikingly different photos of herself when she was having suicidal thoughts to show that mental health does not have a specific look. 

Amelia Smith, 24, said that people, including medical practitioners, sometimes failed to realize that she was suffering from depression because of the way she looked or behaved.

She says she set up social media page called selfloveclubb 10 months ago to raise awareness using her own experiences.

In an Instagram post that she shared this week, Amelia explained how she was only 14 years old when she first built up the courage to go to the doctor to seek help for her depression, but the response was not what she expected.

‘You don’t look suicidal.’ I remember these words coming from the doctor’s mouth right after I’d just told him that I was having thoughts of suicide,” she posted.

Amelia added that she felt “invalidation,” “embarrassed,” and “confused“.

Those words nearly cost me my life, that judgment, those stupid stupid words,” she explained.

“This is the danger of thinking mental health has a face, a look. This is how stigma, ignorance and judgement towards mental health/suicide affects those who are poorly.

“In both these photos I’m suicidal, perhaps not in the same way but on both of these days I had suicidal thoughts racing around.”

The images have been liked more that 20,000 times but these are not the first she has shared on social media.

Many of her 163,000 followers have also shared their own experiences of trying to get help for depression.

One Instagram user posted in reply to the 4 September images: “My boss told me that I didn’t look depressed. I have never felt so silly in my life. I read this and cried, thank you for sharing.”

Another user said: “I understand and feel you. Doctors told me I was just in a phase”.A separate response came from a trainee doctor. 

“Unfortunately this is something I hear all too often,” they posted. “I think there are a lot of reasons for this, but regardless, it’s a real problem. Every time I see stories like your encounter with your doctor, I am reminded of the kind of doctor I will not be.”

Amelia says that she is shocked and humbled at the response her post has received.

“If you’re reading this now and you’re suffering with your mental health then know your are not alone, know that you are worthy of help, love and happiness,” she told the BBC.

“Reach out, tell a friend or a doctor. Tough times don’t last but tough people do.”

The APA describes Depression as  “a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.

Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:

  • Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue
  • Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Symptoms must last at least two weeks for a diagnosis of depression.”

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