In Brenner’s experience, there are a lot of people who see depression as simply being in a bad mood. They don’t realize that depression is a diagnosable and treatable condition. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, mood disorders like depression are the third most common reason for hospitalization among youth and adults between the ages of 18 and 44.
“Many people think that a person who is depressed is sad all the time, is unable to laugh, is ‘weak’ and/or suicidal. None of these are true of everyone,” Scarlet says. “Many people with depression might not be ‘obviously’ depressed. They might laugh and appear happy while struggling on the inside.”
In fact, studies have confirmed that transgender older adults suffer far higher levels of depression, disability and loneliness than nontransgender older adults. Seventy-one percent of transgender older adults have contemplated taking their own lives, compared with just 3.7 percent of the general U.S. population.
Robert Cervantez, 19, says he’s been dealing with feelings of depression since middle school. After Robert began resorting to self-harm as a coping mechanism, his family tried conventional therapy but it didn’t seem to help. Ultimately, it was a particular brand of music and the community around it that provided a much needed cathartic outlet for Robert.
Today, I still struggle with my depression. It’s not as bad as when I first started showing symptoms but I still find myself a bit down here and there. My current treatment is taking anti-depressants and they keep me in check. I used to think that I would never be happy again or live a normal life but now I can say I am doing what I once saw as unthinkable. I’ve changed so much through my depression and seeing it all from the beginning to the present just makes me happy that I have people there for me, people who want me to get better, making sure I’m getting the right treatment and always being there. I now know that I can still be happy and live life without hold- backs.