The depression files - unmasking the myths
Posted Friday 22 June 2012
Depression can strike anybody, and if your first thought was "not me" then you're wrong. No matter how smart or strong willed you may think you are, depression can still get you! I'm not saying it will, but despite popular opinion, depression is not just for those who are "weak minded and easily influenced".
You can suffer with depression whether you are single or married with kids, a high powered exec or unemployed. It doesn't matter who you are, what you do or how old you are, depression just doesn't care.
But I care. I care that people don't seek help when they need to because they are afraid other people will judge them. I care that people think that having depression means you are weak I care that innocent people take their own lives because the feel so alone.
Living with depression has made me stronger than ever.
The truth is, unless you actually have depression, you have no idea what it can do to you and how badly it can affect every aspect of your entire life.
In these series of blogs I want to dispel every myth that is circulating about depression, so more people can understand that it doesn't mean you're weak, it doesn't mean you're crazy, it just means you're depressed.
Can you tell me what depression is? Google it and you will find two very different definitions:
- severe despondency and dejection
- a condition of mental disturbance.
Clear as mud.
And the reason there is no clear definition is that depression is not a clear illness. Being depressed means different things to different people so it can be hard to put that into words.
But depression is NOT:
- something people choose.
- something that people can just "get over" by being positive
- a weakness or weak mindedness
- selfishness or self pity
- insanity or craziness
- something to be ashamed of
These are the kinds of myths and narrow minded prejudices that cause people to feel ashamed of their situation, not seeking help when they so desperately need it.
Just because a person is depressed doesn't mean that they are any less of a person. It does not mean that you are stronger or smarter than them. Only an idiot would believe that someone could live their life with depression and still be weak. It has made me a stronger person than I have ever been in my entire life.
The "snap out of it" mentality seems to be shared by a great many people and with the greatest of respect is possibly one of the most stupid things to say to a person suffering with depression. If we could snap out of it we damn well would! I don't care what anybody says: nobody chooses to be depressed. It can not be snapped out of; it is something that takes time to deal with.
People are made to feel ashamed of their depression, they are made to feel weak, stupid and crazy for not being able to "choose life" and "snap out of it" But depression is NOTHING to be ashamed of.
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