Emerald Russell of Winterport. Credit: Courtesy photo

Emerald Russell has started a video project about what it’s like to have depression, as a way to help others and reduce stigma. Russell, originally of Winterport, said she’s fought with depression and post-traumatic stress for 15 years.

Through her YouTube videos, called Depression Diaries, she’ll share insight based on her personal story and the glimmers of hope that she does see — to show others they’re not alone.

As she stresses in the project, she’s not a mental health professional, but she hopes to be another resource for people experiencing mental illness. In her deepest despair, she finds solace from others experiencing it as well:

“There are so many wonderful people, intelligent people, capable people living with really challenging diseases,” she says in her first published video. “I’ve noticed when I’m in despair, and all I can do is get myself to get online and research what to do instead of killing yourself or resources for depressed people, often I find things from the perspective of a mental health professional. Sometimes I find things from the perspective of a celebrity who had depression. But I don’t find a lot of resources from normal everyday people who are going through it, who are in the trenches with me.

“When I am in the place of deepest despair … the people that I really want to hear from … are the people who are with me in it, who say, ‘You know what, Emerald? Not only have I been there, I am there. I’m scared. I don’t want to go on, but I’m not going to hurt myself today, and you shouldn’t either.’ I really want to be a resource like that for other people. …

“It’s that feeling of ‘I’m alone,’” she says, “and it’s absolutely not the case.”

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Erin Rhoda

Erin Rhoda is the editor of Maine Focus, a team that conducts journalism investigations and projects at the Bangor Daily News. She also writes for the newspaper, often centering her work on domestic and...