Depression can be hard to understand at times if you have never experienced it. It is difficult for someone to imagine what we are going through even though you might have read a book or two on this. Here are some common myths about depression that I have observed from the people around me.
1. It is all about sadness.
Ha. Ha. Ha. I really hope that it is just all about sadness as that would make things easier. It’s how funny that even psychology students think that people who have depression are sad and that’s it. Personally, sadness is an outcome of other feelings and thoughts. It does not lead to a relapse, but the combination of these elements are enough to bring me back there.
2. People with depression are easy to spot.
Trust me, I wish this is the case. These people are ‘experts’ in masking their feelings. Very often, they are one of the happiest and liveliest people you have ever met. I guess it is because we know people think that we are overreacting in our problems and they do not need these negative, pessimistic people in their life.
3. Medication/counselling is a waste of money.
As a psychology student, I find it sad and disappointed that some psychology students think that medication does not help, and we should only go for therapy session. I beg to differ in this point. Medication and counselling work best together; it can be the best way to help the patient. Medicine provides us with the stability of emotions that we need, and the therapy session guides us to see the brighter path.
4. Children do not experience depression.
I guess most people are not aware about this, but children can experience depression if they went through a traumatic experience or they have a mental disorder such as Autism Spectrum Disorder. Depression in children can be hard to detect too because they could be labelled as shy and quiet.
5. Depression is a sign of personal weakness.
Please do not say this to someone who is suffering from depression. Even the toughest person can fall victim for this mental illness. But with the help from their family, friends and therapists, it is possible for them to be in full remission.
6. Depression do not interfere with your daily lives.
No. Depression can make a person stays in bed for the whole day without eating, being lifeless at a party and loses motivation for almost everything. But these have different intensity on every person, and some people might experience all of them.
7. Depression is the same for everyone.
Depression is never the same for two person. One of the reasons is because everyone has a different trigger, and even if you have the same trigger as the other person, you interpret the situation differently too. As psychology always says, it all comes down to the individual differences.
8. People can control their depression and “snap out of it” when they want to.
It is easier to be said than done. Whenever I hear someone says this, it is as if they are trying to say that you can control your flu and stop your running nose the next minute. We can control our thoughts, but not the mental illness itself.
9. People with depression are suicidal.
Not all, but some are suicidal. Suicidal ideation and/or suicidal attempt might occur when it reaches the point that they have given up and they want to end the pain. They often overlook other alternatives to get better, and this is when their friends and family have an important role in showing them a different perspective.
10. Talking about depression only makes it worse.
Here I am openly talking about my mental illness and it is helping to relieve my symptoms. I am not saying that you should tell everyone about your mental health condition, but at least let the people whom you trust to know about it. They will be here for you when you are vulnerable, and they will show you the light to cast the darkness. Trust me, I know.