Depression is not a sign of weakness

Ashley Willis (McNamara)
2 min readJul 7, 2017


Last year, I was grappled with one of my darkest periods of depression. I felt isolated until conversations with a few trusted friends revealed that I wasn’t alone — many were battling their own silent struggles. I yearned to put this all out there for you, but shame held me back.

Just yesterday, my friend EricaJoy courageously took to Twitter to discuss her own challenges and to champion self-love. Her openness has given me the push I needed to finally share my experience. My hope is that, in turn, it might encourage you to share your own journey.

On the surface, my social media life might give you a specific narrative — that I’m always on, always confident. But like most stories, what you see is just the tip of the iceberg.

You might see a person who uses humor as a coping mechanism, but behind closed doors, I’m a mom struggling to balance all the responsibilities that come with it, feeling like I constantly fall short.

You’ll see posts where I appear fearless and in control. What you won’t see are the pills on my nightstand that help me manage a relentless anxiety and mood shifts.

It might seem like I’m great at connecting communities, yet what’s not so obvious is how hard it is for me to build my own meaningful connections.

You’ll see a lot of selfies, but those are far from self-love. Every morning, I dissect my reflection, fighting a battle against an image I think needs improvement.

Online, you’ll find me advocating for coding and collaboration. Offline, I face self-doubt questioning the worthiness of my own contributions.

You may think I’ve got thick skin because I express strong opinions. However, sleepless nights suggest otherwise; I do worry about how I’m perceived.

So, what’s the point of all this? It’s simple: Social media is not a mirror reflecting the complexities of our lives. Each one of us has challenges, and while it’s easy to measure self-worth in likes and retweets, the real value is in facing our vulnerabilities.

The saying ‘Failure is not an option’ never sat well with me. It’s through failures that we truly grow. And it’s okay not to have it all figured out.

At the end of the day, the most honest thing I can say is this: I’m still learning, still growing, and that’s okay. We’re all a work in progress, and there’s a certain beauty in that.