When it comes to depression, there are a lot of misconceptions. Throughout history, it has been taboo to talk about mental illnesses, and the occassions where it has been mentioned have not been positive. This has made it harder for people to come forward, and receive the support they so rightly deserve to conquer their depression. If you have been told one of the following myths, then don’t worry, this is an educational experience (buckle your seatbelts).
To clarify, in this post we are talking about clinical depression (also known as major depressive disorder). I am aware that there are different forms of depression, and some of these things may apply to your form, but they might not.
1. It’s All In Your Head
Of course there are the emotional and psychological symptoms of depression. We’re not talking about those right now, because its not just that. Depression isn’t just feeling sad for a long time. This makes it sound as if you can get on with your day, with no hinderance from your depression. Nope. Nope. Nope. There are many physical symptoms of depression (and they suck too), such as: lack of energy, unexplained aches and pains, distubred sleep (this one is a b***h), loss of libido (yep, it might not be lesbian bed death afterall) and changes in appetite or weight. It’s important to acknowledge these symptoms too! They impact your daily life, coupled with the psychological symptoms. So make sure to let your doctor know about these too.
2. Depression is a Woman’s Disease
Now, I really hope in 2019 that this one is obviously an archaic idea (but then again people think the earth is flat so here we are). How can anyone truly believe that men do not get diagnosed with depression? Looking into the past, there was a stigma with men that to cry/show sadness/or any emotion that wasn’t your tough, burly, lumberjack man, was a sign of weakness. Being told to “Man up” is a dangerous, and ridiculous mentality, and one I would encourage you all to let go of. Statistically, three out of four suicides are carried out by men, and suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under the age of 35. That statistic is so upsetting, and changing the way the world perceives mental health in men, is vital.
3. A Sign of Weakness
In line with the previous point, the psyche that depression (and other mental illnesses for that matter) is a sign of weakness is soooo 1735. There have been many powerful, and influential people in history who have gone on to achieve great things whilst battling their own demons. It has been documented that Abraham Lincoln (Pres of the US, ended slavery, beard goals) may have suffered from depression, based upon the letters he had written, and yet remained an important figure in American history. Depression does not equal weakness, and from the people I have met and experiences I’ve had, people who have overcome their depression are some of the strongest people out there (slay it!).
4. Medication is Addictive & You’ll Be On it Foreverrrrrrrrrrrrr
Nahhhh, come on, you really think that? Antidepressants are not addictive, as they do not build up a tolerance in your system, unlike things like painkillers, alcohol or illicit drugs. You will not crave them when you stop taking them, however, that being said, you will experience withdrawal symptoms if you do go cold turkey (this is NOT recommended). They work by slowing the uptake of happy hormones such as serotonin in the brain (ooh look at me getting all nerdy and excited), therefore making you feel happier for longer. They don’t just instantly make you happy, like flicking on a switch, but instead take time to work and maintain your good moods. They’re also not a quick fix, but typically you’re not on them for life. They’re normally prescribed for at least six months, although, the duration you’re on them for depends on how chronic your depression is and your doctor’s opinion.
5. You Can Just Snap Out of It
“Everyone gets sad, just try to be happy.” Gee thanks Brenda! You’ve just cured all my problems! Why didn’t I think of that?
Seriously, no shade if your name is actually Brenda, but this just doesn’t work. And telling people that they should just get over it, think they’re helping but they’re not (or they might just be *insert profanity here*). Ignore these people, and give your attention to those who are supportive, and provide a friendly, safe and accepting environment.
If you are suffering from depression, don’t suffer in silence. Talking about how you’re feeling is a great step forward, and seeking professional help from your doctor can out you on the right track. Recently, I added a page to this blog detailing organisations around the world that you can contact, simply click the link to take a look.
Photo Credit 📷: Nick Hillier