Rapper Kid Cudi lives with depression, and there's no shame in that.
"I am not at peace," wrote rapper Kid Cudi in a recent post to his Facebook page. "I haven't been since you've known me."
After checking himself into rehab on Monday, October 3, the Grammy-winning artist opened up about his long, often difficult battle with depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation.
"I'm sorry," he repeated throughout the post.
The truth is, however, that Cudi has nothing to apologize for.
Living with depression and anxiety is not some personal failing, nor is it something to feel shame about.
The World Health Organization estimates that, globally, around 350 million people have experienced depression. Left untreated, depression can lead to suicide — and, in fact, it's the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 29. Each year, more than 800,000 people die by suicide.
Depression is the real deal, and there's no need to apologize for experiencing it.
There is, however, a lot of stigma attached to it. By sharing his story, Kid Cudi is helping fight that.
A 1996 National Mental Health Association survey found that more than half of people polled view depression as "a sign of personal or emotional weakness," and a 2002 study discovered that nearly 1 in 5 view seeking medical treatment for depression a sign of weakness. They are wrong.
It's stigma like this, where people living with depression are made to feel as though they are weak, that dissuades people from seeking treatment. To step forward, despite all of this, and acknowledge that you're struggling with depression is a brave thing to do.
Perhaps the most important thing we can all take away from Kid Cudi's statement is that depression can be a very invisible illness to the outside world.
In lyrics, Cudi has touched on depression and anxiety. In "Lord of the Sad and Lonely," he references Xanax, a drug prescribed to treat anxiety. In "Soundtrack 2 My Life," he addresses his depression head-on: "I've got some issues that nobody can see / And all of these emotions are pouring out of me."
Still, if you're not paying attention, these hints can slip through the cracks. There are a number of warning signs to look out for in yourself, your friends, and your family.
If you or someone you know is at immediate risk of suicide, call your doctor’s office, call 911 for emergency services, go to the nearest hospital emergency room, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255).