Understanding Depression

 “Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

      Many people suffer from this disorder, yet many refuse to talk about it. In a way it has become taboo to talk about it. Nevertheless, Depression affects about 19 million adults (not counting teenagers and young adults) across the United States. I find that whenever the word is dropped the room becomes silent and eyes wander around with no fixed point. Let me let you in on a secret; it is not bad luck to talk about depression. If a person is suffering from depression, deep down inside they want to reach out and connect to something or someone. However, many people diagnosed with depressions are emotionally and mentally unable to connect. So, do not make it even more unbearable by not acknowledging it. Depression is not contagious, believe me, my friends have not been infected by it. It is unfortunate that many people are not educated about mental disorders and it leads them to make assumptions about those living with it.

       I can attest to the damaging effects of depression I live with it every single day. Although the medication does help to remedy the symptoms, it is something I will have to live with for the rest of my life. Many believe that it is a lack of gratitude or happiness in my life that is the cause of it. In addition, there are those who believe it is my lack of faith that has caused me to suffer from depression. Not one assumption is correct! First, many things and situations can cause depression, from the environment, to life events, to even genetics. Second, we do feel gratitude and happiness (we’re not Dementors) the only difference is that at more often than not we feel disconnected, alone, and unbearably sad. These are emotions that are uncontrollable. Lastly, the lack of faith is just absurd. I have plenty of faith and I still deal with depression. A family member told me that I have to turn to God in order to be cured. I pray and pray and yet there are days and weeks when I feel overwhelmed. I like to think that there are bigger problems in the world that the holy one can focus on. I take comfort in the fortune he has bestowed upon me of having a great support system that helps me through it.

      I am not divulging this information because I want people to pity or to criticize me. I am doing this because I want people to understand that it is okay to talk about it. Turn to a friend or a family member and ask them how they are coping. We are not social pariahs. I am sure your friend or family member will be okay with sharing their experiences. Additionally, people that make assumptions about depression or belittle it are only hurting those who live with it. Depression, if untreated, can lead to serious issues that can result in self-harm, harming of others, and even death. Plus, if untreated it can lead to other more severe mental health disorders. That is enough rambling for now. Remember that everyone has a story, so take the time to listen and be there for him or her.

         P.S.  I am a person who wants others to understand, nothing more or less. If you have further questions here are two helpful websites and a number to help you or others through this process.

1) http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=education_depression

2) http://www.befrienders.org/

3) 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK)

***This goes out to all those who suffer or have suffered from Depression. This is for all those lost along the way. Rest in Peace.


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