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What's the worst part of depression? These Twitter users are speaking up.

#TheWorstPartOfDepressionIs is an essential mental health hashtag.

What's the worst part of depression? These Twitter users are speaking up.

Like most mental illness, depression is widely misunderstood by those who don't live with it.

I, like tens of millions of others, live with depression. To me, one of the most challenging aspects of depression is the simple fact that most people — even the most well-meaning — won't really understand. And try as they might, they won't be able to help.

One of my favorite illustrations of this comes from a comic by Robot Hugs. The comic imagines if people treated physical illness the way they often treat mental illness.



You wouldn't respond to someone injecting insulin to treat their diabetes by saying, "I don't think it's healthy that you have to take medication every day just to feel normal," so why would you say that to someone taking antidepressants? Comic by Robot Hugs.

Too often, depression is seen as simply feeling sad. That isn't accurate.

Everyone gets sad. It's totally normal. Having a down day doesn't make you "depressed," just like cleaning your house doesn't make you "OCD" Taking these clinical terms and assigning them to situations that don't apply dilutes what they really mean.


This is Sadness. She's similar, but not the same as depression. GIF via Disney/Pixar's "Inside Out."

It helps to make sure we're all using the same definition. So, without further ado, here's how the World Health Organization describes depression (emphasis mine):

"Depression is a common illness worldwide, with an estimated 350 million people affected. Depression is different from usual mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life. Especially when long-lasting and with moderate or severe intensity, depression may become a serious health condition. It can cause the affected person to suffer greatly and function poorly at work, at school and in the family. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide. Suicide results in an estimated 1 million deaths every year."

Perhaps the best way to understand the "hidden burden" of depression is to listen to the stories of whose who have it.

People are using the hashtag #TheWorstPartOfDepressionIs to describe what it's like living with depression.

It's a powerful, diverse look at how varied — although tied together by a few common threads — these stories are.

To some, the worst part is the overwhelming need to pretend nothing is wrong. People are told to "put on a brave face," "try to have fun," or simply to smile to overcome their depression. Trying to follow this advice can be emotionally exhausting.


For others, the worst is the feeling of being in a standoff with your own mind. As this Twitter user says in another tweet, "#TheWorstPartOfDepressionIs fighting a disorder that wants to kill you."



In many situations, those living with depression feel physically or emotionally exhausted. The depressed mind frequently uses this as a way to make you feel even worse.



For others, it's something else entirely. Sometimes it's hard to pinpoint an issue. Instead, it's a combination of so many things.


But whatever the worst part of depression is, it's nice knowing there are others out there fighting the same battle.

And to those cheering from the sidelines, the tag provides some great insight that you might otherwise have missed out on.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

Vanna White appeared on "The Price Is Right" in 1980.

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."

That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

This video has it all: the early '80s hairstyles, a fresh-faced Vanna White and Bob Barker's casual sexism that would never in a million years fly today.

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