Even though depression is one of the most well-known mental illnesses out there, it is continually being defined as things it is not. For those who have not experienced depression firsthand, it is nearly impossible to understand its effects. Many people out there assume that they know what depression is and what the warning signs are, but I can honestly say that most believe common misconceptions about depression.
When asked to describe someone with depression, one might say "They wear dark clothes, listen to emo music, and they do not have a lot of friends." This is a common stereotype and people need to be reminded that you do not have to look depressed to be struggling. When I opened up to people about my depression in high school, some could not believe that of all people, I could be depressed. I was a successful student, a thriving athlete, and I had a lot of friends. Just because someone looks happy on the outside does not mean that they have a happy life.
Self-hatred is something that depression pounds into your brain. Those who struggle with depression do not have one bad experience and then stay sad about it forever, they are constantly battling thoughts in their mind that will not stop telling them they are worthless. Depression is not having a terrible horrible no good very bad day once a month, but every single day.
You cannot escape your mind like you can escape a toxic friend, depression lives within you. It is not something that is just in your head either; depression is a social, psychological, and biological disorder. Although everyone experiences depression differently, there are physical issues that come with the disorder as well as mental. Nobody chooses to get the stomach flu, just like nobody chooses to have depression. Depression does not make you a weak person, if anything, those with depression are usually the strongest people.
Many individuals have tried to describe what depression is honestly like to help those who do not carry this burden understand it better. In my own words, I would describe depression as being stuck in a dark slippery hole, and not being able to escape the darkness. No matter how many times you try, you always seem to slip back to the bottom of the hole and you eventually give up.
The good news is that there are people who can treat depression. The best-case scenario is where therapy and cognitive behavior training help a person’s sadness, hatred, and suicidal tendencies subside. Sometimes therapy is all it takes for someone to feel better and to accept love, but others may need medication along with therapy in order to feel substantially better.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and the first step to that light is asking for help.
Help is available. Speak with someone today.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.