Holdontothelight FB BannerI had intended to post a little something about mental health each day in September, but time slipped away. Excuses are easy to find, but in all likely hood, it was the gray shroud that tried to smother me again. I’ve battled depression since childhood, although I wasn’t diagnosed until my late twenty’s.

I’ve always been good at hiding my gray, showing the world my glass-half-full side. Perhaps that’s why I like the song “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile,” from Annie. That and “Tomorrow” were my go-to songs growing up. If only I’d felt that way inside as well. But I didn’t. I was more than a little sad. There were times when I’d cry uncontrollably for no reason, but I couldn’t stop.

So why didn’t I get help then? Why didn’t I talk to someone?

I had no idea who to talk to, and I was afraid of what people would say or think. A middle school run in with bullies left me hyper conscious of reactions. Besides, people didn’t talk about depression back then. They didn’t even talk about bullies. There was no internet to get information on depression or resources for help. There were no depression or suicide hotlines at school, or anywhere else that I know of.

Besides, I wasn’t that far into the darkness to consider ending my life. That meant that I didn’t need help, right?


No one should have to walk through life half in darkness. It took me years to figure that out and get help.

Next time you see someone without a smile, say good morning/good evening as you walk by. It may not seem like much, but sometimes that little greeting can mean the difference between gray and darkness, a small touch to let them know someone cares.

Everyone needs help at times
Don’t be afraid to ask
For a rope of light
To pull you from the darkness
Climb out of the gray
Hold onto yourself
Your life
Your heart
This world
Hold onto the light

About the campaign:

#HoldOnToTheLight is a blog campaign encompassing blog posts by fantasy and science fiction authors around the world in an effort to raise awareness around treatment for depression, suicide prevention, domestic violence intervention, PTSD initiatives, bullying prevention and other mental health-related issues. We believe fandom should be supportive, welcoming and inclusive, in the long tradition of fandom taking care of its own. We encourage readers and fans to seek the help they or their loved ones need without shame or embarrassment.

Please consider donating to or volunteering for organizations dedicated to treatment and prevention such as: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Hope for the Warriors (PTSD), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Canadian Mental Health Association, MIND (UK), SANE (UK), BeyondBlue (Australia), To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

To find out more about #HoldOnToTheLight, find a list of participating authors and blog posts, or reach a media contact, go to and join us on Facebook

About A. L. Kaplan

I am a writer, artist, and parent.
This entry was posted in Essay, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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