This isn’t the first time we have discussed depression on this site, but it is a subject worth bringing up time and time again. Well, at least until we have a better handle on the issue, anyway.
You see, there are many myths about depression that still persist, and these are not only detrimental to those sufferers who face prejudice from those that don’t have a clear understanding of the disease, but these myths can also prevent those who need help for depression from getting any.
In this article, we will take a look at the various myths and misconceptions about depression, and in an attempt to negate them, we will also look at the truths of the disease.
Myth #1: Depression isn’t an illness
Don’t mistake feeling depressed for having depression. Many of us can feel depressed for any number of external reasons. We might have an argument with a colleague at work, for example. Or, we might fail a test or an exam. Such instances will cause to us to feel momentary feelings of sadness, and for a while, we can feel fed up. And to be honest, this is understandable. However, for those people suffering from depression, they can feel sad and fed up for no specific reason. In some cases, they might even have suicidal thoughts. Depression is a complicated mental health disorder, and there are often psychological and biological issues attributed to it. This article at www.thedoctorweighsin.com further clarifies the differentiation between feeling depressed and having depression.
Depression is a real illness, so remember this when you are talking to a sufferer. Don’t just tell them to ‘snap out of it’ as if that were possible for them. And if you are suffering from depression, and you have no idea why, go and speak to your doctor to get the help you need. It is a disease and needs to be treated as such.
Myth #2: Successful people don’t suffer from depression
If people live happy and successful lives, or so the theory goes, they won’t suffer from depression. Because why would they, when they have made it in life? Well, as we suggested previously, depression is not always connected to external influences, so this myth needs to be discounted. Depression is a condition primarily caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, and so can happen to any of us. Many successful people suffer from depression, including popular film and television star Taraji P. Henson who recently talked about her struggles with the illness in an article at www.ghlinks.com.gh.Other popular examples include Jim Carrey, Harrison Ford, and Eminem, who have all suffered depression to some degree.
So, with regards to this myth, know that anybody can suffer from depression. It doesn’t matter if we are rich and famous or poor and alone. It doesn’t matter how old or how young we are, or whether we are male or female. Therefore, don’t make assumptions of people you know. Even the happiest and most successful of people can undergo struggles that we aren’t even aware of, as feelings of depression can happen at any time.
Myth #3: Antidepressants are the only cure for depression
In many cases, depression can be controlled by drugs that alter our brain chemistry. These antidepressants boost serotonin and endorphin, two of the feel-good brain chemicals that can lift our mood. However, while medication is often prescribed, it is usually only suggested for short-term use. As is discussed at www.helpguide.org, there are other ways to counter the symptoms of depression. These include exercise, therapy, social support, and nutrition.
So, if you know you have depression, don’t assume you have to rely on medication long-term. Find a counselor and benefit from talking therapy. Spend time with friends and family. Spend time in exercise, whether that’s going for a walk every day or taking part in an active hobby. And eat a healthy diet, as while there are no foods that can directly eliminate depression from your life, some foods, using some of the examples found at www.webmd.com, can help relieve symptoms as part of your overall treatment.
Myth #4: People experience depression the same way
If this were true, it might be easier to have a one-size fits all solution to alleviate the illness. The reality is, of course, far different. For starters, there are different causes of depression. As we discussed here at http://infotainmentnews.net, these include life traumas, addictions, and as already mentioned, a chemical imbalance in the brain. People experience depression differently, and the severity can vary between person to person. And people handle depression differently, so while one person might seek social company to alleviate the way they feel, somebody else might prefer their own company to help them get through the depression they are feeling.
So, while you should read articles for advice when trying to help somebody with depression, don’t assume every answer you find is right for the person you are supporting. If you are in a supportive role, you can suggest medication, exercise, and healthy eating, as these are useful mood-enhancers. But you can also talk to the person suffering from depression. Having suffered from the condition, they might have an idea as to what works best for them, so have a conversation before assuming you know every right answer.
Myth #5: Women get depression more than men
Here’s a sobering fact for you. According to the statistics presented by https://afsp.org, more men die from suicide than women every year. So, to say that women get depression more than men is a misconception we need to shake off. We think women are more prone to the illness because they are more inclined to talk about they feel. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to avoid talking about depression in fear of being perceived as less strong and masculine, especially when insensitive friends and family members might tell them to ‘man up.’ As a result, they are less likely to get the help they need, and might even refuse medication. The symptoms of depression are then compounded, and as is so often the case, this can eventually lead to suicide.
So, for any men reading this, know that it’s not weak to ask for help. In fact, the opposite is true, as it takes strength and courage to speak out about how you are feeling. If you recognize any of the symptoms in this article at www.psycom.net, which include anger, anxiety, and feelings of worthlessness, get the help you need. Talk to your friends and family. Speak to your doctor. Follow the advice prescribed to you. Your life is important, and we would hate for you to become another statistic. Do something positive to help your life today!
Myth #6: You can tell when somebody has depression
Sure, there are signs that somebody has depression. If they often appear sad and moody, you might assume they have depression. If they rarely leave the house, you might get concerned. If a friend regularly shuns social company, then you might consider the possibility. However, in each of those cases, they might not have depression at all, so be mindful before you make assumptions. Similarly, if somebody seems happy and smiley, then you might think there’s nothing wrong. If they tell jokes, act positive, and regularly appear fine, then the idea of depression might be far from your mind. But as we have already suggested, anybody can have depression, even the people around you who seem to be okay. Some people with depression will try to hide how they are feeling by acting positive, while others might be perfectly happy one day, but without warning, feel the effects of depression the next.
The takeaway for you is this. Don’t judge people on how they might look or act. You might mistakenly diagnose somebody as having depression while assuming those happiest around you don’t. Be careful in the way you respond to others, and if somebody tells you that they do have depression, don’t offer a glib comment, such as “well, you seem fine to me.” Be sensitive to those around you, and think carefully before making any quick assumptions.
As alluded to above, here are some of the facts about depression.
a) Depression is an illness and not a temporary feeling of unhappiness.
b) Traumatic events can trigger depression, but there can be many other reasons why depression is caused.
c) Anybody can get depression, no matter how successful or happy they seem.
d) Antidepressants are useful, but exercise, nutrition, and therapy are other useful ways to alleviate symptoms.
e) Depression affects people differently; we should never assume one answer is right for everybody.
If you are suffering from depression today, or if you have recognized the symptoms we have linked within this article, please get the help you need. It might only take a phone call to your doctor to turn your life around for the better. And if you are somebody who perhaps has fallen prey to the myths we presented today, please adjust your way of thinking. As a sufferer of depression, or as somebody on the outside looking in, it is important to split the myths from the facts to ensure you respond appropriately.
Take care, and thanks for reading.