The pressure is on for twenty somethings which is why more than 20 percent have either been diagnosed or are experiencing symptoms of depression.
Major depressive disorder affects approximately 14.8 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older, in a given year.
Sadly a lot of people choose to ignore the symptoms out of shame, guilt, or pride. However as you can see the numbers speak for themselves. So why are misconceptions still surrounding depression?
When I changed my major from biochemistry to psychology during my sophomore year of college; my goal was to become a licensed counselor and help people who were hurting or struggling to resolve the issues in their lives. Over the course of my studies there were many days where I imagined what the people would be like that I would serve.
I would love to say that I was a model citizen and was able to ignore the blatantly ignorant stigma’s surrounding mental health. However I found myself imagining potential clients as disheveled, broken, and withdrawn. I envisioned the conversations I would have and started preparing myself for the worst client.
Looking back I always laugh at those moments. Until I was the one sitting in the therapist chair I never knew just how wrong I was.
For years I ignored the signs because they came in waves. First came the erratic behavior and my emotions were unstable. Immediately after came the fatigue, withdrawal, and the suicide thoughts.
I never in a million years thought that I would ever say to myself, “Let’s end this.” But as I stared at depleting image in the mirror that’s all I could think about. I have made plans and even made attempts.
If you are asking, “why would she do this?” You are not alone. I was always asking myself the same thing. You see, I was robbed. Not of material value but my ability to see the light in life. Depression came in like the biggest shadow I have ever seen. One minute I was in the sun, enjoying my life and then the next the shadow came. The “shadow” literally changed my life.
A lot of people think that depression is brought on by negative thinking and hating yourself. Other misconceptions are that people with depression can’t maintain normal lives and are usually hermits locked behind their bedroom door. These hermits are usually referred to as “debbie-downers.” However it was quite the opposite experience for me.
You see when I realized I was depressed it was the strangest day of my life. Prior to this day I had spent a little over a year unemployed and flat broke. By the way I spent the entire 8 months paying for the vehicle I could no longer afford. This eventually led me to moving back in with my mother after being on my own for 6 years. I was at the end of a blazing interview trail. I had gone on over 22 job interviews without a single job offer. Nonetheless I remained optimistic.
I landed my current role which was a blessing and I started working again. Everything was moving along. Until one day, I got hooked by a customer. They were so rude and nasty that it forced me to cry. And I mean ugly cry. After embarrassing myself in front of my new co-workers I realized it was no longer an option for me to seek help, I had to if I wanted to remain employed.
I got the help I needed but the time while I was getting help was so hard. My co-workers, friends, family, church members were all waiting for me to “get over it.” They would say, “snap out of it.”
They are all wrong and the world’s view of depression is completely wrong. Just because they could not see the shadow or understand my pain does not make it any less valid.
Depression kills your will power.
If I had one word to describe depression I would have to say, it is infuriating. Depression is a draining, hopeless, and a loveless experience. As much as I wanted to appease them I could not. Depression is not something I could just snap out of so I found a way to balance out the two. After seeking help my symptoms subsided and now I have focused and clear goals.
If you are reading this and find yourself in the same position that I was, please rememver, that it is not your fault. You are depressed. You are going through a lot. I know and I understand your pain.
Here are the top three misconceptions about depression and how to control the symptoms in any environment:
#1 Depression is constantly equated to sadness when in fact it is an illness that requires diagnoses and treatment.
Why? Many depressed individuals say that therapy and anti- depressants don’t contribute but they do. Do not let the opinions of others be your ‘end be all’ when deciding to get help. Make the best choice for yourself. Depression causes a lot of pain and a way to overcome that is to acknowledge that you need help. You deserve help.
Treatment in a therapy environment could have a major positive impact on your life and career. It is important that you don’t compromise your health, happiness, and income during this period. Therapy can help assist you in maintaining a balanced life while battling the symptoms.
#2 The person you are talking too is not in touch with their feelings and would prefer you to be happy to make them comfortable.
You will have days where you feel like telling everyone how miserable you are. Some will show you concern and others will show you no empathy, And that’s when you find a new friend and confide in someone who can empathize with you because depression impacts your thoughts. Take caution with cutting people off though.
Remember, depression will cloud your judgment.
Don’t snap or go off on people. Let them be who they are and you be who you are. Don’t suffer silently but be prepared for the fact that this will make some people uncomfortable due to the unfortunate misconceptions in our society. Just choose a select few who can handle being a shoulder to you.
#3 The world is constantly moving at a fast pace and depression is not a problem you can solve fast.
People are used to fast everything these days which makes it hard for them to understand that it can take months even years to sort out your depression triggers and how to handle them.
Here is my response to that: Take your
fucking time. You need to heal and rushing your recovery won’t resolve it.
Now, there are two exceptions to this:
Exception #1:If you are in a work situation. Do your absolute best to maintain a optimistic and happy “face” in the office no matter how much it hurts. I know it sucks but you need your income and benefits, do not put you. Click here for tips on how to battle depression at work.
Exception #2: You are dragging your feet. As much as I hate to say that to you, depression will require active participation. It is something you will have to actively work through.
Battling depression is not easy and you will be misunderstood but I want you to know you still have a choice. You can fight this and come out stronger and better than ever. despite other peoples perception of a depression diagnoses.
If you know someone else who is suffering share this ‘mojo’ Monday post with them and encourage them to seek proper treatment.
Sound off in the comments: What topics would you like to hear more about?
Related blog posts:
National suicide hotline: 1 (800) 273-8255
Images via shuttershock.