“Depression is an illness; not a choice.”
I’ve written about depression and mental illnesses before on this platform.
But while the previous posts were written with people just like me in mind, this one is written more for people who have never experienced a mental illness or never quite understood it.
There are a lot of misconceptions about depression and having been diagnosed with clinical depression a few years ago, I’ve came across a lot of them.
First and foremost, depression is not a moodswing. It’s an actual chemical imbalance in our brains that if ignored for long durations, can be quite hazardous and in extreme cases, even fatal. It’s not somebody having a bad day or throwing tantrums. It’s actual trauma that someone’s going through.
And because it’s not a moodswing, it’s not always triggered by something specific. It can be one thing, it can be an accumulation of things or it might not be anything particular. That’s why it’s never a good idea to tell someone, “What are you depressed about? You have everything!”
When someone is depressed, don’t suggest them to read jokes, watch sitcoms or any other activities that’ll take their minds off of the depression. That’s not the way depression works and in some cases, those type of suggestions have even been known to make things worse. The best thing you can do is let the person know you’re there for them if they need you.
Just because someone is smiling or laughing on the outside, it doesn’t mean they’re happy. I know this from personal experience as I spent years suppressing my pain because I thought no one would understand what I’m going through.
Continuing on the above point, so many people have asked me that why didn’t I speak up? Nobody can read minds after all, right? The truth is that it’s not easy to speak about mental illnesses. It takes a lot of courage and a lot of trust for someone to open up.
And finally, remember that the number of people with depression or any other mental illness is far greater than you’d think. And while nobody expects anyone to be psychic, it does help for everyone to be less judgmental of people around us in every way.
Do you have a friend or family member with a mental illness? How do you deal with it? Join this discussion by commenting about it below.