As I continuously move forward with my fight against Depression, I’ve become more educated about the illness and in return, have become more educated on myself as an individual. As I have become more open about my Depression in day-to-day conversation, I have picked up on how other people feel about Depression and things that they believe to be true about it. This is a countdown of my favorite incorrect facts and misconceptions on somebody who suffers from Depression:
#5. Depressed people are constantly miserable and alone.
The reason that I find this one so interesting is because sometimes it tends to be the complete opposite. One of the best ways to describe it is by that Taylor Swift song, “The Story of Us.” There’s a part of the song where she says: “Now I’m standing alone in a crowded room, and we’re not speaking.” Yes, its cliche that I quoted a Taylor Swift song, but I’m a fan.. So, deal with it for the moment. I feel that it nails it right on the head because sometimes, the ones who are suffering from Depression are the ones that you might least suspect. The ones who are constantly surrounded by people or active in their social life. Of course, sometimes we do tend to be introverted and need some time away from people to reflect and think, but that doesn’t make us any different from an introvert that doesn’t suffer from Depression, right?
When you suffer from Depression, you tend to become really good at putting on that happy persona and making things seem like they’re okay. There’s an interesting science to how our brain works. Did you know that if you’re not feeling well, the more you think about it, the more sick you become? We can literally trick our brains into making our bodies do something, simply by thinking about it. So yes, if you think about negative things, negative things will happen. But what shocks people and seems to be extremely difficult for people to understand is that if you also think positive things, positive things can happen too! Even if things aren’t going that well, if we put on a happy persona we can trick our minds into thinking that things are okay! So there you have it, we’re not constantly miserable, and we’re not constantly alone!
#4. Depression just means being Sad
No No.. Being sad is when your favorite TV show character gets killed off the show. Being sad is when you watch that scene from “I am Legend” where Will Smith has to kill his best friend, Sam at the end (Oops, SPOILERS). And of course, being Sad is when you’re eating that very last Cool Ranch Dorito and you accidentally drop it on a floor where you probably shouldn’t apply the 10-second rule. Depression is a constant black cloud above your head that always seems to rain on your parade. It’s a constant thing, sadness is just momentary.
#3. Depressed people just need to ‘snap out of it.’
I think this is one of the biggest things that REALLY needs to change when it comes to the culture of Depression. It is defined as a Mood or psychological Disorder. Do you know what other things are disorders? Bipolar Disorder, Insomnia, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, etc. These are all things that are never asked for, so people who suffer from disorders don’t want to be suffering from them. They’re things that cannot be changed overnight or at a moment’s noticed. They’re things that might take medication or years and years of therapy, which brings us to our next item:
#2. Counseling or Therapy never works, it only makes things worse!
I’ll be completely honest on this.. I once thought this too. It’s actually really ironic how life sometimes works because at one point in time, I wanted to be a therapist. When my University first discovered about my Depression and Suicidal tendencies, I was forced to see a counselor. Even though I wanted to be one, I was so against the thought of talking to somebody about my problems because they’re a complete stranger, they don’t know what’s going on in my head, etc. Let’s just say I’m no longer wanting to be a counselor, but I did see a therapist like I was supposed to and after that first examination, an option was given to me on whether or not I wanted to continue going to counseling. That was three years ago, and I have seen my therapist every week since then. I can honestly say that my therapist and I are extremely close and she is one of my biggest fans. Going to counseling every week has really helped me straighten out my thoughts and feelings, and I look forward to it every week. It’s nice going to a place where you know you wont be judged or know that she won’t gossip about you as soon as you leave due to confidentiality. It helps, I promise. You should give it a shot.
#1 Depression is no big deal– it’s not that serious.
Did you know that nearly 15% of people who suffer from Depression and leave it untreated will resort to Suicide? That number is way too large, and because of that, you can’t tell me that Depression isn’t serious. We need to educate each other as to why Depression is serious. It’s one of the most documented mental illnesses, but it’s also one of the least understood. It can be overcome, but it makes it so much easier when people are understanding and willing to help. Having to jump over life’s obstacles with weights around your ankles is hard enough, we don’t need to combat your criticism along with it. Yes, I may be different than you because of my Mental Illness, but I’m still human and that should be enough. I hoped you learned something today.. Whether it’s about me or Depression in general, I hope you take what you learned and put it in practice. Make a change in somebody’s life, talk to them when something goes wrong, hug them tighter than you normally would, and let them know you care about them.