By Sneha Barua
In recent times, discussions about depression have taken centre-stage and now, more than ever, we are actually paying attention to the effects an undiagnosed and untreated clinical depression can have on a person and his sheer will to live. An improvement I would say.
Suicides due to depression were rampant throughout but have been brought to the spotlight recently in the wake of our favorite celebrities taking their lives.
Yes, my heart goes to all of you out there whose eyes just filled with tears thinking of how Robin Williams, Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington gave up on themselves. Shocking, wasn’t it?
But, more shocking and disheartening is the fact that despite of losing so much to this mental illness, we still choose to stick to the archaic misconceptions around depression and shrug-off the very facts.
So, here I will try to break some of the popular stereotypes around this disease.
#1. Depression isn’t a real mental illness, it’s simply sadness exaggerated.
Depression is a mental disorder as serious as any other illness, physical or psychological. It has been globally recognized as a serious medical disorder by the World Health Organization itself.
And no, it is not just a bout of sadness!
True, sadness is one of the symptoms of depression but sadness occurs due to a particular incident. Then again you are able to laugh and move on.
When you are depressed, there is a constant feeling of sadness from which you are unable to get out. It has an impact on every aspect of your life, hampering your abilities to complete the daily chores that you normally would have done without any extra effort.
Non-visibility of the symptoms of a mental illness doesn’t give us a license to ignore it altogether!
#2. Depressed people can “snap out of it” if they want to.
How would you feel if you are having typhoid and the people around you tell you to snap out of it because it is all in your head? It doesn’t work that way right?
So does depression.
People who are depressed can’t start feeling A-okay simply because you tell me to!
They need medical attention equal to the likes of a physical illness.
That’s where psychiatrists and counselors play an important role in effectively helping people to come out of a depressed state.
#3. Men don’t get depressed; it’s just for the fairer sex
Another instance of the common misconception – “Mard ko Dard nahi hota”. Well, I am sorry to break it to you but, mental illnesses like depression don’t discriminate on the basis of gender, unlike us of course!
Women and men are different on many levels and hence, they show different symptoms of depression.
While women tend to be more open about expressing what they are feeling within, that’s not the case for men.
Men tend to bottle up their feelings inside and suck at describing what they are going through. Hence, a greater tendency of overlooking the signs of depression in men as compared to women. But, that DOESN’T make them less likely to suffer from this illness.
#4. Depression is for the weak
One of the reasons why people suffering from depression are scared of opening up to others and sharing their inner turmoil is the widely believed notion that depression is a sure shot sign of weakness. People who are emotionally strong can face any problem and hence, don’t get depressed.
Well, it’s the same as saying you would never get injured because you have a strong build.
Mentally strong persons have equal chances of getting depression as mentally weak persons.
What the need of the hour is to understand this disease better and show some compassion towards people suffering from it.
Let us make this world a better place to live.
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