Negating The 5 Common Misconceptions About The Mental Condition
The stigma people associate with depression will never go away as long as misconceptions about the mental condition abound. This article aims to negate the most common fallacies believed about the psychological disorder many individuals suffer from in private.
Dina Cagliostro, PhD, elaborated depression as “more than just feeling sad. Everyone feels upset or unmotivated from time to time, but depression is more serious. It is a mood disorder characterized by prolonged feelings of sadness and loss of interest in daily activities”.
According to the CDC, depression will become the world’s second most common health dilemma by 2020. And the nature of the psychological condition is intangible that people who have not experienced it or are not suffering from it would have a hard time grasping the intricacies of this “invisible” mental disease. Artists have tried to give it form in so many ways, but these always came up short of what depression is.
Little understanding is a breeding ground for false beliefs and stigma. These, along with fear, are what make depression sufferers hide and keep their mental condition to themselves. So, to have a better grasp of the psychological disorder, I’ve listed five of the most common misconceptions people believe in the said condition.
- “Don’t worry; depression is something you can pull yourself out of.”
Depression is more than just a feeling you can get over it. It’s a mental disease. However, a low stress life could be helpful as elaborated by Michael McGee, MD, who said, “Good self-care is a foundational part of a low-stress life. Self-care involves optimizing your biological, psychological, social, and spiritual well-being and involves basic things like eating healthy, getting plenty of sleep and exercise, having regular routines, being involved in your community, pursuing passions and spending time in solitude for contemplation or reflection.”
“No one wants to be depressed, but it happens without them choosing it,” said one psychologist. “People might be predisposed to the have this mental illness but other factors, such as those we find in the environment, could trigger its start.”
- “You can think yourself out of your condition.”
Most self-help books about overcoming depression and depressive feelings tell you to see the brighter side of every circumstance, to think positively, and the like. While these suggestions are helpful, in cases of major depression, cognitive processes like positive thinking to get out of the “dump” are hampered.
According to Carol Glod, RN, PhD, the Director of Nursing Research at McLean Hospital, “The most important thing is to get help. Get an evaluation from a professional who understands depression and the other psychiatric orders. After the evaluation, you can make a decision about what to do.”
“In clinical depression, even the act of waking up and taking a bath turns into an impossibility,” quipped a mind expert who has spent most of his career finding a cure for depression.
- “You need to have a reason to feel depressed.”
While circumstances like the death of a loved one, financial problems, trauma, or unemployment trigger depression, the mental condition might pop its head and burrow in your life out of nowhere.
“Depression doesn’t need a reason. It can develop and strike even without an obvious reason triggering it. The public needs to understand that,” stressed out one therapist.
- “See? You’re not depressed because you’re still going on with your life!”
As was mentioned earlier in this post, depression is an “invisible” disease. Unlike fever or flu where the affected individual manifests with physical symptoms, the psychological disorder is often hidden, at times, deliberately.
“Many individuals suffering from depression are still able to go on with their lives. They don’t show any external indications of the disease they have inside those people who don’t suffer from it find hard to understand,” stated a psychiatrist.
- “If you’re strong enough, depression wouldn’t be a bother.”
Being diagnosed with depression has nothing to do with being weak or strong. In fact, people who have this mental disorder show their strength by admitting they have it and seek help for it.
“Depression was my shield for many years,” shared Maggie whose mental disorder was her cloak against childhood trauma. “But it also was my prison. To ask for professional help was a big step for me. My immediate family knew something was wrong, but they couldn’t point out what it is. Only a few of my closest friends knew, and nobody at work had any idea what I was going through. Of course, there were negative remarks about me being a “drama queen” and so on. There were also pieces of unsolicited advice thrown my way. But I focused on healing, and now, I can say that I am.”
Maggie, who attributes her newfound faith, journaling, and having a very supportive support group that includes her therapist as crucial factors of her healing, said in conclusion: “Depression can never heal when it stays in the shadows. It has to be let out in the light for it to heal. I just hope the world could be more understanding of it.”