Depression is one of those things that cannot be measured or seen under a microscope, and yet it affects so many lives.
First off, what is depression?
According to the definition available on www.psychiatry.org, “It is a common and serious mental illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act.”
Simply put, depression can become so severe, that somebody will stop doing what is necessary to lead a healthy and active life. They will always be sad and feel hopeless, where nobody and nothing can seem to change their mind.
There are treatments, but depression is not an illness that is usually permanently cured. It can be in the state of remission for a long time. Other times, it can happen on and off on a regular basis. The most severe cases are when the sufferer has felt depressed long-term without remission.
In spite of the fact that depression is a real and common mental illness, most people whom do not suffer from depression do not think it is a real illness, but instead see it as an excuse to play the victim in order to get attention and compassion from others. This makes it harder for those who suffer from depression to seek help, or even admit that they are depressed.
I find that these are the reasons why depression is still not looked at as a ‘real illness’ within the majority of todays’ society:
- Depression is an excuse to play the victim.
Those whom have suffered from depression have confronted those whom feel that they were making excuses as to why they could not perform regular duties within what is considered the norm of everyday life.
Those whom look down on those who suffer from it see the victims of depression as weak, self-absorbed and toxic. The only reason why people feel this way about those who suffer from it is because there are those out there whom really embody the roles of victim solely for the reasons that have to do with getting the approval, compassion and attention from those around them when in reality, they are being deceitful. Since there are those out there that play the victim when they really aren’t one, those whom have encountered these people become less able to differentiate between a real victim and a person merely portraying one.
- Those who suffer keep it to themselves.
In today’s society, pain and suffering is looked down upon if there aren’t any physical symptoms such as blood and scars. When somebody is suffering on the inside and look fine on the outside, those around them become less tolerant of their suffering. It is almost seen as taboo because when somebody is showing that they are in pain without any physical symptoms, it relays into the whole idea of them ‘playing the victim’ solely to get attention and approval when it has nothing to do with that, and everything to do with the fact that these people are in pain and need help.
It takes courage from a victim of depression to admit to others that they are in pain because they are aware of the fact that others might look down on them if they are to say that they are depressed.
When a person suffering from depression is brave enough to admit to it, those they confess it to might not know how to help them, or those they tell might shrug it off and tell the victim to ‘get over it.’
When the victim keeps their suffering bottled up inside because of the fear of disapproval from others, their symptoms of depression can get worse.
- Most whom suffer from depression are in denial.
If you or a loved one is suffering from depression, understand that many people are in the same situation as you are and they all need a support system. It doesn’t need to be family members, though if you have supportive family and friends, look to them for help! However, since it is such a common thing that affects so many people for various reasons, there are many ways you can seek help in order to educate yourself on how to deal with it and eventually overcome it. You can:
- Find a therapist or counsellor.
Make sure when you look for one to do some thorough research and try out a few therapist and counsellors because there are many different types of therapists and counsellors. Find one you connect with and that you feel has the best intentions for your healing process.
- Find a support group.
Even if you do have a support system of family and friends, it is also a good idea to find a support group you can be a part of, whether that support group is online or in person. Having people around you that are going through the same thing you are will give you a sense of community and you will be able to open up more and discover new avenues of healing. It is all about the networking and being able to heal from your pain and suffering without fear of judgement.
- Be honest with yourself and others.
There is nothing worse than bottling things up inside because you fear how others will see you. However, those who really care for you want to help, but in order to help, they need to know what is going on with you. Don’t be afraid to open up to your loved ones. Be honest and upfront with yourself and realize that there are people around you that want to help. In order for that to happen, you need to take the first step and admit that you need help.
- Know where to turn.
One of the most difficult things about suffering from depression is not knowing how to deal with it and who to turn to. You can go down the conventional route by seeking out a licensed therapist, counsellor, psychiatrist or psychologist that is right for you. There are also other alternative methods that can help, such as acupuncture, meditation, massage therapy, homeopathic remedies, yoga, theta healing, energy counselling, reiki, to name a few. All you need to do is not get frustrated or overwhelmed. Try to see this process as an adventure and a way of trying out new things.
By changing the course of your lifestyle for a more positive one can allow you to see what you need to do to be happy. When push comes to shove, if you do not have your health, than nothing else really matters. So, take care of you first, so that you can take care of others as well as be able to live a full and happy lifestyle.
A few useful resources to look into. Research and follow your own instincts on what therapy is right for you: