Dear WikiHow…

Really WikiHow?  Image: Dakster Sullivan
Really WikiHow? Image: Dakster Sullivan

While on your website, I came across a section that said, “We could really use your help!” and underneath, it listed four topics. After cycling through a few of the choices, I came across “Can you tell us about dealing with depression?” This is a topic I’m pretty well versed in, seeing as I suffer with anxiety and depression myself. I wasn’t prepared for the depression topic that you wanted me to focus on though.

When my topic came up, I was beyond angry. It said: “Thanks for helping! Please tell us everything you know about how to hide depression.”

Hold the phone here!

First of all, since when is hiding depression something that we should be advising about?

Second, hiding my fight with depression when I was a teenager ended me up in a hospital after threatening to commit suicide.

As much as I wanted to go on a total rant in the submission box, I kept my reply short and simple.

“I think telling someone how to hide depression is like giving someone who wants to kill themselves the means to do it. You should not hide that you have depression. Instead, you should seek out help and talk to your loved ones to build up a strong support system to help you when the depression hits.”

Depression is an illness. To those who have it, the emotions we feel are real, even if they don’t make sense to those around us. People with mental illness should not be getting advice on how to hide how they feel, but instead, be given ways to help them safely express it. We should be given advice on how to overcome our daily struggles and see that the light at the end of the tunnel is not always an oncoming train.

Since coming to terms with my own struggles with depression and anxiety, I’ve decided to be very vocal about my struggles. It’s helped me to, in a way, take control of how I feel and let others know, “Hey, this is going on. I need you to be patient with me.” I’ve even been told that by not hiding my struggles, others have learned they’re not alone and a few have even come to me to discuss how they are struggling. Not only did them coming to me help them, but it helped me to use my struggles to help someone else and it gave me a warm fuzzy feeling inside.

Instead of the current prompt, why don’t you modify it to say something along the lines of, “Tell us everything you know about how to find help for depression,” or, “Tell us everything you know about how to build up a strong support system when you’re depressed.” Those two prompts alone could spur a conversation with people and maybe even save a few lives.

I know you can do better WikiHow. Now go and do it.