For people who struggle with depression, Michael Landsberg is an encouraging voice on Twitter. He not only spreads awareness about mental illness, but he’s open about his own continuous struggles as well, creating a community of people who have found a safe place to share what they are feeling and find some encouragement or just feel less alone. On Friday afternoons when everyone is talking about their exciting plans for the weekend, he asks the question: Are you dreading the weekend or feeling indifferent? If so, reach out. It’s not just you. Michael Landsberg’s main message is that mental illness is an illness, not a weakness. The illness may make you feel weak, but it is not a weakness of character.
For me, the greatest power I have is knowing that depression is not my choice or my weakness. – Michael Landsberg
It is not a weakness, self-inflicted, or a result of not trying. Sometimes you can’t just get over it. It won’t just go away. – Kevin Bieksa
Depression is an illness. It’s not something that can be judged any more than we can judge someone for having a broken arm or heart disease. While depression can cause physical pain as well, the greatest pain is emotional. You don’t feel joy from the things that would normally make you happy. You worry when you’re sick that the cloud will never lift, and you worry when you’re well that it will come back again. Depression tries to take away your hope. But by believing that it is a sickness just like any other injury or disease, we can believe that it is something that can be overcome. In The Survivor’s Club, Ben Sherwood said that “we are quick to believe that a knife wound to the chest will heal but an injury to the mind will never repair itself. In a biological sense, there is no difference between an injury to the body and an injury to the mind.” There is hope to overcome that pain and suffering. As Michael Landsberg says, “The illness tells you you’re weak. The illness makes you feel weak. But when you heal, you can see how strong you had to be to survive.”
Game Plan: When you believe that you are #sicknotweak, there is hope to overcome it and show compassion for those who are sick.