Common Depression Myths You Need to Stop Believing
Nowadays, people are starting to spreading the word of mental health awareness to educate us about the risks of having mental illnesses or disorders and how we can help people suffering from it. Depression is one of the most common mental disorders and sometimes it could even lead to suicide. It negatively affects us in our life, the way we feel, the way we think and the way we act.
It can be extremely uncomfortable to talk about it for people like us suffering from it and still facing battles inside your head. There are cases where we cannot avoid other people saying ridiculously stupid things about it which makes it even harder for people to talk about it and take some action.
Here are some of the examples.
It is not a real illness
“It’s just all in your head.”
Of course it is in our head. That’s why it is called mental.
How many times I’ve heard this from people? Most of them think that people are just making this up. Some would even say that we use this as an excuse for us to skip work work, skip school and not do anything. For them, they think depression is a fancy word for being sad, wanting attention and wanting sympathy.
People experience sadness themselves and they would tend to assume it is the same for everyone else whenever someone is suffering from depression. Which leads to another annoying belief sadness=depression.
Depression and sadness are the same
No, it does not equate in to occasional sadness or constantly feeling down. It is much more than an emotion which people mistakenly believed it to be. Although one of the symptoms of depression is sadness which is usually triggered by hurtful and disappointing events in life, it is a normal human emotion that we constantly feel from time to time.
Depression on the other hand is an emotional state that affects our perception and behaviors chronically. One of the effects of these is getting sad about almost everything, making things less enjoyable. They would suddenly stop feeling enthusiastic about the things they used to do, you lose interest in things, you are feeling confused, unmotivated and it can be difficult to bounce back.
People who have depression are fragile
“You just need to toughen up.”
This stigma is one of the main reasons why so many people elect to suffer in silence rather than seek the help they need. Often being accused for being weak and unable to handle challenges in life.
“Wait until you enter the real world.”
For younger people suffering from this, adults would often counter with that kind of statement. Some of them would even scratch their heads wondering what kids could possibly be depressed about?
Just because people who are young and with less experience than the older ones doesn’t make their experiences mean anything less. They are humans too with feelings.
They just need exercise
“You just need some exercise”
“You just need a hobby”
“You just need to get a life”
While other coping methods such as running for miles, engaging yourself in sports and making yourself busy may be effective for others but it is not the same for someone else. I remember someone telling me that he suffered the same and all I had to do is to get busy that I won’t even have time to think about anything else.
It is a common mistake for people to think that their experiences define everyone else’s. Everyone fight their battles differently.
It is always caused by tragedies and traumatic events
Although we can’t deny that one of that tragedies and traumatic events such as death of loved once, getting fired from jobs or divorce may trigger depressive episodes but it is not always the case.
You can be a perfectly happy person and other people may think that you absolutely have nothing to be upset about your life. You may have a great job, a great relationship and a lot of friends and still be depressed. It is not necessary always about traumatic experiences or unfortunate circumstances in life. Chemical imbalances in the nerve cells of the brains may lead to depression.
They just want attention
“It’s always about you, isn’t it?”
We can’t deny that sometimes we need a little bit of attention too. Humans have their needs and this can include wanting attention as well and feel recognized as a living, breathing creature that matters too.
But that is always not the case. Just because a person open up doesn’t automatically mean they want sympathy and attention. In my case, I don’t like people feeling sorry for me if I feel that way. It makes me feel worse.
“Some people have it worse”
Just because a person is living a good life doesn’t mean he or she is should not be depressed. Depression can come to anyone.
A lot of people have this habit of dismissing and invalidating someone else’s situation. Mostly because they are unable to put themselves on someone else’s shoes.
Depression is a choice
No one chooses to develop depression. You can lie to yourself and convince the world that everything is fine. You may actually find yourself believing it but you know to yourself you are not. But we can’t just turn it off or snap out of it. There is no switch for it nor expect it to heal on its own. Do you seriously think people wants to be that way forever?
Depression does not discriminate. Everyone can have it even if you are young, middle-aged or old. It doesn’t only get people with unfortunate experiences in life, you can be a healthy person with a great lifestyle and relationship and still be depressed.
How to help a Depressed Person
It can be tough to help someone you care about who are suffering from depression. It’s hard to find the right words, the right thing to do. Each of them suffers in different ways. The best way to help them is to let them feel that you are here for them and not just with words.
Take their feelings seriously and do not dismiss it. It’s one of the reasons why depress people would withdraw and not open up to you. Do not presume to give unsolicited advises to them. Instead ask them “What I can do to help you?” or “How can I cheer you up?“
If you are unsure with what to do or their depression is severe, maybe it is best to get professional help. Hopefully with enough emotional support, understanding and their willingness to get better, they will be able to kick it out of their system.