7 Brutal Truths We Wish Everyone Knew About Depression
About Depression – Depression is NOT a first-world problem. Each year, 30,000 Americans die by suicide. In two thirds of these cases, depression is an underlying factor. In any given year, 6.7 percent of the adult population will experience a major depressive episode.
For those who are not part of the 6.7 percent, it’s impossible to understand what someone with depression really goes through. Lack of awareness and education surrounding mental illness, and gross inaccuracies in the media inevitably result in misinformation.
Below, I hope to clarify some of the myths associated with depression, along with some examples of what NOT to say to someone who is depressed.
1. Depression is more than just sadness.
“Everyone feels this way sometimes.”
False. Everyone experiences periods of sadness or grief during their lifetime, but not everyone will experience a clinical depressive episode.
A pervasive disease of the brain, depression goes beyond sadness, affecting every aspect of the sufferer’s life. It can be a debilitating disease, and as a primary cause of suicide, a fatal one.
When someone is depressed, something as simple as taking a shower can seem like a Herculean task, as can any social interaction. Often one’s view of themselves becomes so distorted they may see the world and everyone in it as an adversary, including family and friends.
They may know, intellectually, that they are loved and that the world is not ‘against’ them. However, intellect and reason play little role in depression.
What does play a major role are feelings of inexplicable guilt, helplessness and deep despair. Sometimes there may be sadness, and sometimes there may be no feeling at all- just a dull, paralyzing numbness, the idea of things ever getting better seeming like an impossibility.