I was diagnosed with clinical depression in the fall of 2013, six months after the loss of my twenty-nine year old husband. His death had sent me into an even steeper nosedive, and I could barely function. My doctor and therapist told me that I had likely been living with depression for quite some time, which came as no surprise since I knew that several family members had also been diagnosed with various depressive disorders.
Several therapy sessions and months of medication later, things were beginning to look up, but in May 2014, I lost a young friend to suicide and our group of friends was shaken to its core. The loss of our friend brought into sharp relief our own issues, and some of us began to seek out professional help. I wish that our friend could have done the same.
Even now, I’m still struggling. I attend weekly therapy sessions and my doctor has had to increase my dosage of depression medication a few times as we find the right amount to balance out my body’s deficiencies. I still don’t have energy to take care of myself as well as I should, and there are many days when I wish I could just give up.
That’s why Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles’ #AlwaysKeepFighting campaign means so much to me. I bought my t-shirt last night because there are days when I need that reminder, and I think it will also allow me to have conversations with others about getting help and bringing increased awareness about the issues of suicide, self-harm, and depression to the public consciousness. It’s not something to be ashamed about, but rather be informed about, so that our communities can help support us in our battles.
Jared Padalecki recently talked about his own struggle with depression and the loss of friends to suicide, expressing his desire to spread awareness and support charities that would aid in that mission as well as bring support to those who are struggling.
My husband was a huge fan of Supernatural; I’ve been watching Sam and Dean’s journey for several years now, and they do encourage me to keep fighting. They don’t ever give up. No matter what happens, Sam and Dean are determined to win. I do think that actors and the characters they portray (whichever shows we watch) can influence us, creating meaning and instilling us with real hope and courage. As my therapist reminds me, we are the stories we tell ourselves, and promising ourselves that we will always keep fighting holds a lot of power.
Jared and Jensen (and Misha Collins, whose charity Random Acts will be partnering with #AlwaysKeepFighting to reach out even further to an ever-growing fanbase) have taken their fame and put it to good use, utilizing it to ensure that they can help change lives, even after Supernatural is over. I don’t know that there’s a better way to honor the Winchesters’ commitment to always keep fighting.
If you’d like to buy your own #AlwaysKeepFighting shirt, there are two days left in the second campaign — you can find ordering information here.