Thursday, 8 June 2017

5 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT DEPRESSION

"Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma and bias shame us all"
- Bill Clinton


Depression Doesn’t Discriminate

Depression doesn't care whether you have an active lifestyle or a busy social life, if you're young, if you're middle aged, if you're elderly, what colour skin you have, your religion, your sexuality, your gender, your social class and so on. It can affect anyone at anytime.

Trust me, we're not attention seeking

I think this one comes about because a lot of people struggle to differentiate depression with feeling sad. If someone is showing signs of being depressed, which is evidently more severe than simply feeling sad, people are quick to jump to the conclusion that we are just emphasising our sadness for no good reason other than to gain sympathy. This isn't a “who can be the saddest” contest. These people are the ones who don't care to educate themselves and try to demean those with a mental illness. Depression is challenging and debilitating and can be incredibly difficult to talk about. It's brave to admit you're depressed and there is nothing wrong with reaching out for help. It should be encouraged, not mocked. 

We can still have good days

Of course you can still laugh and smile. There will be days where you feel ok and like you can achieve something and there will be days you will find much more difficult. I was once out for dinner with a few people and happened to be discussing my blog to one person, mostly about the post where I speak about my own mental health which is an honest account of my depression and anxiety. Said person had read the post previously and was understanding at first, but when it was brought up again at the dinner table they were somehow confused as to why I still felt those things. “But you seem fine now” was the response I received. I felt almost as if I'd lost my right to be depressed because I wasn't under my duvet in my bedroom unable to move, but instead, smiling and laughing with everyone else. The important to thing to understand is that a good day doesn't necessarily mean the depression has up and left and should be taken seriously everyday and not just on the worst days.

We don't need to have a reason for feeling depressed

If you've never experienced depression it might be difficult to understand that you don't need a significant event to have happened in your life to suffer with depression. Depression can be triggered by these events but it's very easy for people to assume that when you're feeling depressed, it has to be because of something specific. I've found it difficult to try to explain to people why I feel how I feel and if I can't give them a valid reason, they often try to find one for me. They don't get how I could possibly be depressed otherwise. I'm talking “you're probably just having a bad day”, “have you fallen out with your boyfriend”, that sort of stuff. We've all heard the "but you have nothing to be depressed about" dialogue. Depression isn't just a mood, it's a real medical condition which can pounce at anytime with or without an explanation.

We're trying our best, really we are

Working through depression or a mental illness unfortunately isn't a quick process. It can be long, lonely and all we really want is someone by our side. It's not something that can just be ignored or forgotten about, its something that needs to be treated appropriately. As much as we would like to be able to just “get over it” or “try to be happier”, it isn't that easy and trust me when I say if it were that simple, we'd all be following that mindset and we'd all be ok. Would you ask someone who had been shot to just try and stop bleeding? Of course not. Mental illness isn't a choice, nor does it make any of us weak. It's an exhausting, constant battle and we really were doing what we can to win it.

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