There are many myths and misconceptions about depression, because many people lack understanding of mental illness. Your depression is not “in your head” and you should not “just get over it”
Check out the top 7 eye opening myths about depression:
Depression is Sadness– This is likely one of the most widely believed misconceptions about depression. Many people truly believe that a person with depression is just sad all of the time and that is the end of it, they should “just try to be happy”. That is the problem right there, people with depression are still depressed even when they are indeed happy. Depression is a serious mental health disorder, not just an emotion. Depression is an illness with social, psychological and biological origins. The symptoms of depression are often caused by an imbalance of serotonin and dopamine in the brain- not because a person is sad. Depression is persistent even when the individual is trying to engage in activities that they enjoy.
For example, If I am a person with depression and you give me a million dollars- I will be SO HAPPY- about receiving that money. But you know what else?…. I’ll still be a person with depression, just one who now has a million dollars.
Depression is brought on ONLY by a traumatic event– Nope. So while depression can indeed be triggered by a traumatic event, or a series of traumatic events, this is not the sole cause. Depression has deep roots to genetics as well as environmental factors. Some people can go through traumatic events and bounce back, while others will battle with depression for the rest of their lives. Even children can show depressive symptoms at a very young age, without any trauma having been endured.
Anti Depressants Cure Depression– No, no, no. Your friend is not going to magically snap back to being happy after beginning a new medication. First of all, these medications take several weeks to build up in a person’s system in order to help them begin to feel better. While these medications are extremely helpful and completely necessary for some people, they are more of an aide. These medications work along with healthy life choices and often times therapy. Be patient with those suffering from depression, they do not enjoy feeling the way that they feel.
You can just “get over” your depression– Back to depression constantly being mixed up with sadness, these are two different things entirely. Everyone has times of sadness, but depression is a chronic condition. People who are depressed are often overly tired, irritable, have dark thoughts that won’t go away, lose their drive to do things that they enjoy, and sometimes stop taking care of themselves and they way that they look. A person does not choose to be depressed or neglect their own well being.
Depression is more common for women– The difference here is that women are much more likely to admit that they have depression and seek help. Our society raises men not to be “weak” or display their emotions, while women are thought to be more emotional. This is why in fact, the majority of suicides cases are older men. Many men lose their lives each year in America because they hide their symptoms of depression for many years. Depression is not something that can be ignored and is a persistent condition, many people try to hide it because they are ashamed and eventually lose their battle. This is why often times when a person commits suicide you will hear people say “But they were such a happy person!”- No, they were faking it because society says that they should
Depression only affects mood- Depression can lead to a variety of emotional, physical, and cognitive symptoms. For many people, depression causes them to have little interest or pleasure in doing things (lack of interest in sports, sex, cooking, family and friend time, reading, anything they once liked) and feeling down or hopeless. Depression can also cause a person trouble with falling or staying asleep. It can also cause a person to sleep too much, but still be tired or have low energy. Depression is tricky and causes a wide range of symptoms such as poor appetite, or overeating. It causes you to feel bad about yourself, like you are a failure. It can lead to trouble concentrating on things or making decisions; moving or speaking slowly. People with depression do not all experience the same symptoms, and the severity, frequency, and duration can vary. (If you are experiencing these symptoms, please seek medical attention)
Controlling your thoughts will fix your depression– Okay so I am ALL FOR taking care of yourself and being more mindful. These things can help with easing symptoms, but they cannot eliminate your disorder. Mental illness is, well, illness. It needs to be treated as such. Depression needs to be handled by medical professionals and it not something that can be wished away. Every individual has a unique form of depression and therefore will require different things in order to treat it. Many people benefit from therapy, medication, and making healthy life changes. However, you should not feel bad about seeking treatment, you are not weak for needing help with your depression.
If you feel that you are suffering from depression, please see a medical professional right away.