Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Just choose to be happy. You have nothing to be depressed about.
Sound familiar? This is because although depression is very common, especially among women, many people still think that those suffering with depression are “pretending”. Depression is a difficult illness to comprehend, even sufferers struggle to verbalize what and how they are feeling. There are no broken bones or high fevers, but the sufferer complains of unwavering pain. Due to the lack of physical evidence of pain, many believe that the individual craves attention or simply loves to nag.
The problem is made worse because depression is often made to seem synonymous to sadness. Sadness is seen as an emotional response to difficult life events such as losing your phone, or missing your favorite TV episode. While persistent sadness that causes one to lose interest in life and affects daily activities, such as bathing or cleaning, is depression. One is a symptom of the other. The careless use of the word depression has minimized the impact of the disease, and made those wishing to seek help seem weak and incapable of dealing with everyday life.
Sometime last year during training at work, I began a conversation surrounding mental illness and the importance of getting adequate support. As I was talking about the potential of suicide in untreated individuals, one girl said to me “I don’t see why people get depressed. They are so weak! We all go through life, what makes them fail to cope.” Its statements like these that further strengthen the stigma that surrounds the illness, and prevents those in need from getting help. The lack of knowledge and understanding of the disease has lead to many people not seeking the help they need, driving them further into isolation.
It is difficult to explain the back pains, migraines and insomnia that comes with depression. Not to mention the excessive weight gain/loss. Many will never understand that some days there are no triggers; depression simply creeps up from behind and takes over. But to the warriors that keep choosing to live another day, know that you are not alone.