We have a long ways to go when it comes to accurately depicting mental health in our society. Take depression, for example. You’ll see people who are supposed to be severely depressed on TV shows, yet manage to keep up with their beauty routines, work, and home maintenance without a hitch. There are memes out there that talk about how self-harm and even suicide are “beautiful,” making them seem almost like poetic gestures (they aren’t). But sometimes, we can find glimpse of the truth, like  this woman’s Facebook post that reveals her struggle with depression in a very real way.

Facebook user Katelyn Marie Todd shared something incredibly personal on her wall this week. If you were simply scrolling by, you’d just see a black-and-white selfie of Todd brushing her hair. But once you read the post, you realize there’s much more to it.

“I brushed my hair today. For the first time in 4 weeks. It was matted and twisted together. It snapped and tore with every stroke. I cried while I washed and conditioned it, because I forgot how it felt to run my fingers through it,” she begins.

This Is How We De-Stigmatize Depression

“Depression isn’t beautiful,” Todd continues. “Depression is bad hygiene, dirty dishes, and a sore body from sleeping too much. Depression is having 3 friends that are only still around because they have the patience and love of a saint. Depression is crying until there’s no more tears, just dry heaving and sobbing until you’re gasping for your next breath.”

Todd’s portrayal of what depression is like is incredibly accurate. She talks about not having the energy to do laundry, so her clothing is always dirty. She talks about wanting to stay away from people because she doesn’t have the energy to shower often, and knows it causes her to smell unpleasant. You can read the full post below:

What Todd describes is what it’s like to go through serious, deep depression. And I know this because this is how I felt a few years ago when I was battling it, just after my daughter died. It’s not something that can be fixed by a kale smoothie and a 5k, either, though some will try to make it seem like a few simple lifestyle changes will automatically make you right as rain.

By now, Todd’s post has been shared 265,750 times, and has received over 195k likes. Her message is clearly resonating with a lot of people—either ones who are also currently battling depression, or who have in the past, or love someone who is. Either way, it’s an important message to share, and hopefully it helps some folks who might be feeling alone to reach out and get the help they need. Depression is not a beautiful thing to aspire to have. It is hard—very, very hard—and it can prompt you to harm yourself when what you truly need is help, care, and compassion from others.

If you’re currently experiencing symptoms like these, or feeling depressed or suicidal, please call one of the hotlines below. There are people right now waiting to hear from you, who want to help you get through this. You don’t have to go through it alone.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

National Adolescent Suicide Hotline: 1-800-621-4000

Postpartum Depression Hotline: 1-800-PPD-MOMS (or e-mail at info@hopeline.com)

The Trevor Project (LGBTQIA+ Support Line): 1-866-488-7386 (or text 1-202-304-1200, Monday-Friday 3pm – 10pm EST/12pm – 7pm PT) 

(Image: Facebook / Katelyn Marie Todd)