Helping To Understand Depression
Sometimes all we need in life is that one person to jump start a conversation. Just that one person to say something that will forever change our perspective. Every single day, you and I have that opportunity. We have the opportunity to change the life of someone that we do not even know. All we need to do, is to just be willing to speak. Well, today I want to be that person. I want to put everything out there and maybe change just one person’s life. I want to help you understand depression
Through my experience of living with depression, here are some thing that I want you to know to help you understand depression.
- Depression is not a choice.
It’s not like I chose to be diagnosed with depression. I didn’t wake up one day and say “Hey, I want to be depressed.” Everybody in my immediate family deals with depression, and no matter how hard I wanted to be the one saving grace, I just couldn’t deal with it anymore. It was just apart of my DNA.
At first, I was ashamed. Ashamed because I didn’t want to admit that there was something wrong with me. But there isn’t anything wrong with me, I just didn’t understand depression. It doesn’t make me crazy, it doesn’t define me, it has just become a part of me.
- Depression is more common than you think.
Depression is a mental illness that affects more than 16 million American adults each year. That is more than 6.7% of the total population. Yet only 35.3% of those who are affected by depression will seek treatment from a mental health professional. It can cause people to lose pleasure in daily life, leave them feeling sad, unmotivated, and hopeless. It can be environmental, or in my case, it can be hereditary.
- Depression is more than sadness.
One thing that is difficult to comprehend, is when people think that depression is just being sad. Depression is much more than having a case of the blues. It is much more than just having one bad day at work. Depression takes every ounce of enjoyment away from life. For weeks, months, or years at a time.
If there were two words that accurately describe depression, it would be darkness and hopelessness. Imagine being locked down in a dark cellar. No light, no warmth, just sheer cold and utter darkness. No matter how hard you try, you can’t break free. You can’t find any amount of light no matter how hard you try, you have no strength to break free, and the walls are slowly caving in on you. You just sit there staring endlessly at the concrete walls, and are left feeling numb. That is what depression feels like.
- People aren’t themselves when they are depressed.
People often tell me that I am a pretty positive and charismatic person. I love making people laugh, and overall, I just enjoy making others smile. But through my depression, I would become a different, unrecognizable person.
I wouldn’t talk to anyone, I wouldn’t smile, and I had no drive. Depression left me feeling empty. I remember during some of my worst episodes, I would sit and stare at blank walls for hours. There was nothing going through my mind. I just sat there with no emotion, no thoughts, just staring.
- Depression is not “lame.”
I have always been pretty open about my depression because I want others to know what it is like to live with a mental illness. The reason I choose to be open about my battle is to help others to understand depression, and to bring awareness to it. I don’t to be treated any differently, because I am not any different. If people want to judge me for battling depression, then shame on them.
I was out with a group of friends one weekend and simply didn’t feel like spending my night at the bars. It wasn’t because of depression, I just didn’t want to be there. Someone that I have always been open with had found is appropriate to point out my depression to others, and use it as the reason for why I was being “lame.” Let’s just say that this one didn’t end so well…
- Sometimes, we just need someone to talk to.
When we are dealing with depression, we can’t just snap out of it. Trying to overly cheer us up can sometimes do more harm than good. It can almost become overwhelming and irritating when I have people asking me what’s wrong or what can they do to cheer me up.
The best thing to do to help someone who is suffering from depression, is to just be there to talk to them. Just sit, listen, and let them vent. Let them get all of the thoughts off of their minds, and then let them know that you are there for them. Having someone to talk to and having someone say that they are there for you can go a long ways in the minds of someone who is dealing with depression.
- Depression affects us all.
We all know someone with depression, which is why it is now more important that ever to spark a conversation. That person that you know who battles depression, well imagine life without them. Each year, depression is taking more and more lives, because we are not spreading enough knowledge about it.
Until we come together as one, and until we are there for each other, the number of deaths related to depression is only going to increase. Life’s too short the way it is. It doesn’t need to become any shorter because we are not open enough about a mental illness that deserves far more recognition than it is receiving.
The time to start the conversation is now, not when it becomes too late. Together, we can bring awareness to this mental illness, we can help fight it, and we can help prevent the harmful dangers that it can cause. We need to understand depression because we are all affected by it. We can, and we will beat depression.
If you that you or someone that you know might be dealing with depression, please seek professional help. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline anytime at 1-800-273-8255, or you can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “start” to 741-741.
No life is worth losing, especially when we can all do something to help prevent a loss.
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