I didn’t really want to start off the week on a dark note, but I promised a blog post on Monday, so here it is!
Disclaimer: I’m not a medical expert. I’m simply someone who has experienced depression for many, many years in many different ways and I’ve also known people with depression. This list is from personal experience and experience of those close to me.
5 Myths About Depression
- “A person with depression is sad all of the time.”:
Yes, people with depression tend to cry more easily than others.. But that’s not all depression is–it’s not so simple. Depression can create lot of anger and hate, as well, mostly to oneself.Depression causes a person to look in on themselves constantly and hate what they see. If they seem to look disgusted all the time, it’s probably not at you; it’s at something they’re thinking of that they did years ago. Sometimes it’s nothing.Depression has a way of sucking the fun out of everything. It zaps energy, emotions, all of it. So if you take out your loved one to a movie they would normally love and they’re barely or not even laughing, that’s why. They’re not doing it to spite you; they just genuinely don’t feel anything either way.
The best example to use for this is the animated movie Inside Out. It portrays it perfectly– I broke down after watching it because it struck such a chord, and I was wondering where it was when I was a kid.
- “It’s Personal (aka: They Hate Me)”:People with depression typically don’t mean half the things they say while depressed. If they don’t want to go out with you, it’s probably not because of you; it’s that they have no energy to interact with the outside world. Sometimes, it takes a huge amount of energy to even get out of bed, much less go outside and be social.
- “Just from Trying, I Can Help Them”:
Of course you want to help with all your might, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t make them smile or get them to enjoy what they used to. It takes time and patience. A lot of it they have to do on their own, so don’t feel like you’re doing nothing. Your support matters, but you can’t fix everything yourself.
- “They Choose to be Unhappy”:Honestly, this one shouldn’t have to be explained, but after seeing posts such as “Choose to be happy and you will be!” and other variants, it needed to be added.No, people with depression cannot simply choose to be happy. You cannot heal your broken leg in an instant by simply wishing for it to. It’s a similar concept.
On the other hand, this need to get better does play a part. Sometimes, it’s like a muscle that needs to be exercised; as someone who has come in and out of depression several times, I can say that, for me, it got a lot easier as I worked on forcing myself to act happy, and eventually, getting somewhat close to actually feeling it. But sometimes, the depression is too strong, and it takes away the energy to try.
That’s where this phrase “happiness is a choice” is wrong. Of course people want to be happy–they simply don’t have the energy, or they’ve lost the motivation to even try. A lot of people with depression think that they don’t deserve happiness, anyway.
5. “Being depressed/having depressed thoughts means they’re weak”:
This is a very unfortunate mindset that still goes around today. People think those with depression just have a weaker mind; they can’t handle the pressures of life like everyone else can.
In reality, it’s just that people who suffer or have suffered from depression have minds that simply work differently from others–not necessarily lesser. It is not a weakness in will or strength or soul to have depression. In fact, people who have suffered depression may often be some of the most resilient people you will meet.
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