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Why Depression Is Like Being a Black Jelly Bean

The Mighty logo The Mighty 21/05/2019 Thomas Kuster
close up photo of man’s hand holding one red and one black jelly bean candy © The Mighty close up photo of man’s hand holding one red and one black jelly bean candy

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Yes, you read that right.

Being depressed is like being a black jelly bean.

Let me explain.

To put it in very simple terms, black jelly beans are loved by a select few, but everyone else just throws them in the trash. When I was deep in one of my major depressive downward spirals, this is exactly how I felt. I had a very small group of people who loved me and cared about me and yet, I also felt like everyone else just did not have time for me and they pushed me to the side, discarded me without a thought. I had barely anyone I felt comfortable talking to.

When you are depressed — truly depressed — you definitely see the world differently. People who you know are your friends are seemingly distant, making it hard to reach out, which in turn can cause a doubling effect from the self-imposed solitude. Going to family events take more energy than you usually spend in a whole day. 

Talking to anyone is exhausting. It takes a lot of minutes to just pick up a phone and dial the number. Dishes pile up, laundry remains on the floor, and you truly start to believe you are a very large black jelly bean.

This is why conversation and action are so important. To borrow the line about planting a tree, the best time to tell your family and friends about your struggles is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.

You may be anxious, nervous, worried, unsure and reluctant.

I understand that. It took me over a decade to figure it out myself and then another couple of decades before I told the world. Even my wife did not know until 20 months ago.

I was anxious, nervous, worried, unsure and reluctant.

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It literally took a heated argument with my wife about house cleaning for the dams to bust open, but it was such a relief, such a release, when it did. Finally, someone else knew. Three months later, everyone knew. The freedom was overwhelming. Positive vibes came in from all directions. To be fair, not everyone was supportive. Know that should you tell the world, the same may happen to you. There is some good news from all of this in the end.

I no longer felt like a very large black jelly bean.

I felt exactly like a very large red jelly bean.

Since that day, I have slipped back and forth between the two, black and red. Some days are better than others. Some weeks are better than others. Some months have been truly terrible.

One thing has remained constant throughout that whole time. The number of people around me who like black jelly beans has grown exponentially. It seems there may be more people in this world than you may who like black jelly beans.

All it takes is just letting them know you are one. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Explore more issues faced by those battling mental health and join our fight for happiness here.​​

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