Always Keep Fighting
Jared Padalecki’s #AlwaysKeepFighting campaign isn’t just about how many T-shirts he sold, or how much money he raised – although, of course, that is still extremely important. Jared’s #AKF campaign showed how one person, one actor, could impel an entire movement toward accepting depression as a disease, and taking it out of the shadows into the light.
In a 2015 interview with Variety, Jared said that he had battled with clinical depression – and stated, “There's no shame in having to fight every day …” Since then, Jared has been upfront and open about his constant fight against – and with – mental illness. He and the #AKF/#AlwaysKeepFighting movement have become a beacon for not only for the Supernatural fandom, but for society as a whole.
As Jared says: “It’s not just people who can’t find a job, or can’t fit in in society that struggle with depression sometimes."
Jared made it okay to have depression. He made it safe for people to express that they were having a bad day, to ask for help, rather than hiding it with a fake smile.
Although depression, or melancholia as it was called back in the ancient Mesopotamia (source: https://www.mentalhelp.net/articles/historical-understandings-of-depression/), has been around for a while, the stigma related with being depressed didn’t begin to clear until recently. I believe Jared, a well-known and well-loved celebrity, had something to do with that.
On the surface, you would think that Jared had everything – as he stated: “I mean, I was 25 years old. I had my own TV show. I had dogs that I loved and tons of friends and I was getting adoration from fans and I was happy with my work, but I couldn’t figure out what it was; it doesn’t always make sense is my point.”
Sometimes our feelings don’t make sense. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t valid – and it doesn’t mean that we should ignore them.
Always Keep Fighting wasn’t just a T-shirt campaign; it wasn’t just a charity to raise money. Always Keep Fighting is a battle cry; it is a rallying point for all those who deal with depression. No matter what bad day you’re having, what mistakes you have made, what issues you’re dealing with … Always Keep Fighting.