Depression Is Not A Sign Of Weakness
So many people do not understand that Depression is real and not a sign of weakness. Depression is viewed by many as the “common cold” of mental disorders, because it is so prevalent in our lives. Did you know that more than 1 in 9 people could be diagnosed with the disorder at one point in their lives. And unlike some other mental disorders, depression affects virtually every aspect of what you do, how you do it, and how you interact with others. Every year, it wreaks havoc in millions of lives, especially among those who believe that it isn’t real, and that it is something you should just “get over” on your own. If only it were that easy to get over.
It’s very difficult to live a normal life when you have depression. Even after you have been diagnosed, and prescribed medications. It’s very hard to remember to take the correct medications at the correct time. Especially if you’re like me, running after the boys and making sure that their needs are met. More often than not I meet their needs, with out giving mine a second thought. That makes it even more difficult because you are then fighting to live and complete the daily tasks in your life. Even the easiest as getting out of bed, becomes a huge ordeal.
I write this post because I’m tired of hearing all the myths that many people have about this very serious mental disorder. Here are a few common myths about depression, and the facts I have that answer them.
1. Depression means I’m really “crazy” or just weak.
Yes depression is indeed a serious mental disorder, however it is not more serious than most other mental disorders. Having a mental disorder doesn’t mean you’re “crazy,” it just means you have a issue that is negatively impacting how you live your life. Without the appropriate help, this issue can cause a person significant distress and problems. Not just in their relationships, but in life. Regardless of what many people believe, depression can strike anyone, at any time. It doesn’t matter if you’re “weak” or strong, depression knows no bounds. Some of the strongest people I’ve met are people who have coped with depression at one point in their lives.
2. Depression is a medical disease, just like diabetes.
While some pharmaceutical influenced commercials might simplify depression into a medical disease, depression is not. Depression really is a complex disorder that reflects its basis in psychological, social, and biological roots. Even though depression has neurobiological components, it is no more of a pure medical disease than any other mental disorder. Treatment of depression that focuses entirely on its medical or physical components alone, often result in failure. Which is why it’s important to know the risk factors for depression.
3. Depression is just an extreme form of sadness or grief.
In most cases, depression is not just ordinary sadness or grief over a loss. If it were just that, then most people would feel better over time. In depression, time by itself doesn’t help, not even willpower can do the trick. So when someone says “Just pull yourself up and stop feeling so sorry for yourself!” do not, by any means let it make you feel bad. Depression is overwhelming feelings of sadness and hopelessness, every day, for no reason whatsoever. Most people with depression have little if any motivation. They just do not have energy. Because of that lack of energy most of us with depression have serious problems sleeping. And it’s just not for one day. It’s for weeks or months on end, with no end in sight.
4. Depression just affects the elderly, losers, and women.
I have to tell you, this way of thinking is what gets to me even more. Depression like all mental disorders, does not discriminate based upon age, gender, or personality. While generally more women than men are diagnosed with depression. Men are less likely to be diagnosed, because men suffer depression in silence. Mostly because many people in society believe that men shouldn’t show signs of “weakness” and believe depression to be just that weakness. Even a man’s own upbringing may reinforce such messages.
While aging brings many changes in our life, depression is not a normal part of the aging process. Actually, teenagers and young adults suffer with depression just as much as seniors do.
Some of the world’s most successful people have also had to deal with depression at one point or another. People like Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, George Patton, Sir Isaac Newton, Stephen Hawking, Charles Darwin, J.P. Morgan and Michelangelo have all suffered from depression. So being a loser had nothing to do with being depressed.
5. I’ll have to be on medications or in treatment for the rest of my life.
Even though some doctors and even some mental health professionals believe that medications may be a long-term solution for people with depression, the truth is that most people with depression receive treatment for it for a specific period of time in their lives, and then end that treatment. The exact amount of time will vary from person to person based upon the severity of the disorder, and how well different treatments may work for each person. Most people who have depression do not need to be on medications for the rest of their lives (or in treatment for the rest of their lives).
6. All I need is an antidepressant.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Ending depression, is not as easy as popping a pill. While certainly you can have an antidepressant medication quickly prescribed to you by your primary care physician, you’re unlikely to feel any beneficial effects from that medication for 6 or more weeks. In two-thirds of patients, that first medication won’t even work! Combined psychotherapy treatment with medication is the recommended gold standard for the treatment of depression.
7. I’m doomed! My parents (or grandparents or great uncle) had depression, and isn’t it inherited?
In the past there’s been research to suggest the heritability of depression, however more recent studies have called into question how much of depression really is genetic. The upshot? Researchers continue to explore the neurobiology of mental disorders like depression, it hadbeen found that having a relative with depression only marginally increases your risk for getting depression (10 to 15%).
I sincerely hope that this post will help both, people who suffer from depression , and people who don’t realize that Depression Is Not A Sign Of Weakness! Nor is it a choice we make.
Please feel free to leave your comments or questions below.