Feeling a little blue, are you? Why don’t you just snap out of it? Get over yourself? Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Get a grip.
This is probably the response you will get from the cynical, uneducated, uninformed and un-evolved people of the world when revealing you have depression.
If only it were so easy to just ‘shrug it off.’ Wouldn’t life be a lot better?
Depression isn’t make believe. There is actual differences in the chemical makeup of depressed people versus non-depressed people; a decline in activity in the cortex, especially the prefrontal cortex, along with an increase of activity in the brain’s limbic structures.
Unfortunately, though, the brain cannot be seen by outsiders. Sculls are made of bones, not glass and because un-evolved cannot see someone’s depression, they do believe it does not exist.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m a big believer of the whole ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ philosophy stemming from the British in World War II. The one thing that annoys me is my inability to drink tea, because I’d love to be the kind of person to say, when times are tough, ‘pop the kettle on, folks, let’s get on with it.’
Yet there’s a difference in overcoming adversity with strength and dignity and living with depression. One of the worst assumptions the un-evolved make about those with depression is that depressed people are ‘weak.’
We are not weak
This is the first of these depression myths I wish to dispel. We are not weak. Is it weak that we are able to drag ourselves out of bed each morning even though the thought of facing the day makes us want to melt into our bedclothes and never be seen again?
Is it weak to trudge right through that heavy cloud of despair every single day just to live your life?
No, not weak; strong. Every day we find the strength to live.
Anti-depressants are not some magic, instant pill
You’re on medication, aren’t you? Why aren’t you happy?
Because antidepressants aren’t a magical fix. I wish they were. Yet am sure I’m not the only one who does the silent ‘please work, please work,’ prayer whenever taking one. It’s not like taking an aspirin when you’ve got a headache. Anti-depressants are not an instant cure, and a lot of the time, they’re not a cure at all. All they really do is help get you through. They lift the fog a little off the ground so you can see and breathe. If anyone does know of a miracle pill, I’d love to hear about it.
We can still laugh, you know
Just because we’re depressed, does not mean we can’t have a laugh every now and again. It’s not all doom and gloom. In fact, laughing can be quite helpful. We’re not going to sit down in front of a standup comedian and not crack a smile, unless, of course, the comedian is not funny. Being depressed does not mean we don’t find comedy unenjoyable, we do, just like everyone else. And it doesn’t mean we’re suddenly ‘cured’ just because we’ve had a laugh, or prove we were never ‘depressed.’
Something has to happen to make you depressed
Another myth. Sometimes, depression tendencies can be hereditary. You can be predisposed to get depression just like you can be predisposed to get schizophrenia or bipolar.
What do you have to be depressed about?
You could have all the things that people judge as ‘having it all.’ The house, the car, the money, the children, the partner. From an outsider, your life could look perfect. You should, therefore, be happy.
Depression isn’t always directly related to what’s going on in your life. Those who ‘have it all’ are just as susceptible to depression as those who don’t.
All depression is all the same.
Yes, it’s a trend we’re all copying. The latest fashion. Sorry to say, this is not the case. Depression comes in many different forms, with many different layers. You can be mildly depressed or severely depressed. Your depression can be combined with bouts of mania, or intwined with anxiety. It can affect people in different ways.
Depression may keep you refined to your bed for days on end. The thought of leaving the house or seeing people might fill you with heart-racing fear. You may be able to face people, or force yourself to, but then take everything that is said to you as a slight. You assume everyone hates you, and identify with their hate; because your worthlessness is such that you could never believe anyone would like you anyway.
Depression may hinder your ability to make decisions. Someone could ask you where you want to go for dinner, and the thought of being responsible for such a choice fills you with dread. You are unable to make any concrete plans; each option more complicated to fit in then the next.
People with depression are crazy
I can see you doing the circle crazy motion now with your finger right now. But you needn’t worry. It might take us a while to make decisions, we may spend all day in bed, we may hate the thought of going out in public, but it doesn’t mean we don’t have a firm grasp on reality.
While I’m at it, people who are depressed do not have spots or boils or fangs or horns growing out of our heads. We’re not alien. Even if we were – what would it matter?
No judgement, please. The un-evolved like to feel superior to others and by treating the mentally ill as paupers. Perhaps, though, they should be a little wiser. No one is immune to depression. There is no vaccination. No way of knowing when it will strike. Have a little understanding for those that are depressed – one day it could be you.