Now this is bravery.
One of the hardest parts of dealing with a mental illness is revealing the condition to coworkers, friends and family. No one understands that better than Doug Leddin, a 27-year-old marketing manager from Dublin, Ireland who says he hid his depression from the people in his life for nearly 10 years due to the overwhelming feelings of shame and stigma associated with mental health issues.
Leddin finally opened up about his depression in a viral video posted to Facebook on Wednesday, where he nailed the heartbreaking reality of what it's like to face a mental health condition.
"I'm living a life of someone who suffers immensely with depression," he said. "This is so hard for me to talk about but it's not just me. It's impossible for the millions of other people to talk about it. And that's the problem."
Leddin explained that while some people may appear positive or happy, how they feel mentally doesn't always match their outward disposition. Depression is an invisible illness -- and because of that, many people with condition stay silent about their experience because they worry about others' reactions.
"What we fear the most isn't the dark place we're in," he said in the video. "What we actually fear the most is that our friends won't understand and that we'll lose them. That our family won't know what we're going through or won't get it. That our colleagues will look at us differently or that we'll lose our jobs."
Nearly one in four people will experience a mental health issue at some point in their lives. Being able to speak candidly about mental illness is crucial not only in the fight against stigma but for getting proper treatment. Research shows that negative perceptions may stand in the way of people seeking professional support -- especially for men, who tend to hide mental health issues more than anyone.
Leddin says that he did the project not only as a form of self-healing and a way to reveal his experience to his loved ones, but as a way to inspire others to do the same.
"I wanted to let everyone know [about my depression], all at once," he told The Huffington Post. "But I also wanted to encourage others to speak up and speak out to family, friends, colleagues or whoever."
Videos like Leddin's are an important step for positive change. There needs to be a culture of acceptance when it comes to mental health -- whether that's at home, in the workplace or even just the grocery store. The only way to do that is to continue talking about mental illness with an air of compassion and understanding.
Leddin also told HuffPost he wants others with depression to know they're not alone in their experience.
"If you're going through some bad spells, and you are feeling dark, alone and scared, remember that you can talk ... and that things can and will get better over time," he said. "Seek professional help, talk to your doctor or family and be brave. We need to speak up as sufferers. We need to shatter this silence, we need to be brave, take courage, help ourselves and help others."
If you — or someone you know — need help, please call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If you are outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of international resources.