The year 2020 has been challenging for everybody. In a report compiled by the CDC, 40% of respondents to a survey reported experiencing at least one mental health episode, and 30% recorded having feelings of anxiety or depression. In all likelihood, these numbers are on the conservative side.
Despite so many people facing mental health issues like depression, there are still many negative connotations pervading the community about this sometimes deadly disease.
It’s a good thing then that discussions about mental health are becoming more accepted. More people, including prominent personalities and celebrities, are opening a public dialogue about their experiences with depression to help normalize the condition and remove the stigma.
Our goal is to demystify the many myths and outdated narratives related to depression.
What is Depression?
Depression is a mental health issue affecting around 264 million people globally. Symptoms of depression include a persistent feeling of loneliness or sadness, loss of interest in previously enjoyable pastimes, trouble sleeping, lethargy, and loss of appetite, to name just a few.
Depression produces different symptoms in varying levels of severity depending on the person.
Common Misconceptions About Depression
Learn more about a few of the most common misconceptions about depression that are not true and can be harmful if not corrected.
Depression is Just Somebody Feeling Sorry for Themselves
Many see a depressed person as somebody who is choosing to wallow in self-pity. Depression is not a choice people can make and is not something you can rid yourself of by adjusting your attitude and choosing to “snap out of it.” This misconception is an outdated concept that has no justification.
Depression isn’t a Real Disease
Depression goes a lot deeper than just a feeling of sadness that may last a few hours or days. It’s a disease that has a basis in a person’s physiology. There are many biological and environmental factors involved in depression, including imbalances in brain chemistry. It’s a severe and complex issue requiring treatment with medication and mental health therapy.
You can Still Function; Therefore You Are Not Depressed
Depression can affect people with varying levels of intensity. For some, getting out of bed can prove an impossible task, while others can still function in society and hold down a job.
Just because there are no physically apparent symptoms like physical pain or a cast does not mean depression isn’t there. Some people are very good at covering up their symptoms and keeping quiet about their condition.
There Must be a Reason You Are Depressed
Traumatic life changes can trigger the onset of depression, but genetics and brain chemistry also have a significant part to play. Depression does not need a reason, and there may not even be anything wrong externally. However, depression can skew someone’s perception, so they think otherwise.
Depressed People are Just Ungrateful or Lazy
Life doesn’t have to be hard for someone to be depressed. It can affect everyone from all walks of life, rich and poor alike. Claiming that a depressed person is ungrateful for all the good things in their life or that depression is an excuse for being lazy is another harmful misconception. Depression can afflict people so severely that even performing the simplest tasks can prove too challenging.
Supporting People with Depression
Misconceptions about depression only serve to stigmatize people living with a debilitating disease unfairly. Depressed people need help and support, not scorn and ridicule as someone feeling sorry for themselves.
Rather than continue with the negative, harmful narrative, choose to support those around you who may be experiencing depression. Understand that depression is different for everybody. Validating their feelings with understanding and compassion and without judgment will help them a great deal in overcoming their symptoms.
To learn about getting help for you or of loved one, go to: Depression Treatment