Would you admit you're depressed?

"Unfortunately we live in a world where when you break your arm everyone runs over to sign your cast. But if you're depressed, everyone runs the other way."

I aimlessly scrolling through Twitter yesterday when I saw a friend of mine Tweet the link to a video via the Huffington Post. It was about what it's like to live with depression. It was an 11 minute long video, so I thought about watching three minutes of it then clicking away. I ended up watching the entire thing... twice. 

The video was a 19-year-old kid talking about what it's like to live with depression. And while I am lucky enough to not suffer from depression, I think he makes some of the most valuable points on depression i've ever heard. 

He talks a bit about what it's like suffering from depression, but his main point is the stigma associated with depression. 

He begs the question would rather post a status on your Facebook saying you broke your back or that you had depression? I think we all know the answer to that, and in that lies the problem. 

People who suffer from depression are automatically labeled as crazy or sick or messed up or weird or broken. But if you tell your friends your broke your arm, all they care about is the cool story as to how it happened. 

But in principle they are the same thing. Depression is a physical ailment. People don't choose to live with depression. Just like people don't choose to have diabetes or choose to have cancer. 
It's okay to say you have diabetes or that you have cancer or that you have a broken arm, but the second you admit you suffer from depression, you are automatically labeled as a freak; and for something that you have no control over. 

Clinical depression is, in simple terms, a chemical imbalance in the brain. It isn't caused by anything other than genetics. People who suffer from it, have no control over it. It also isn't being sad about a particular thing or situation. It is about feeling so terrible when everything is fine. 

So we are left with millions of people suffering and hurting every day for reasons they don't understand because everything else seems to be going fine. But forget about getting help. That just means you are a freak and that you are weak. 

The stigma against people with depression is disgusting and shameful. There is help readily available for those people, yet they won't take it for fear that their friends and colleagues and neighbors and family will judge them. And for that reason we lose tons of lives every single day. Because people were too ashamed to ask for help. 

This isn't meant to be preachy or meant to call for some big action, but to simply inform everyone out there that depression isn't something to be ashamed of. And maybe next time we all will take a second thought before judging someone for something they have no control over. 

1 comment

  1. I'm really glad people are talking about mental illness more. The more we talk the more people can understand and learn, hopefully meaning less stigma.
    I suffer from depression myself unfortunately and really want to try and stop the judgements put on people with mental illnesses. If we keep talking and educating people we can get to a good point in society where talking about mental health isn't awkward or weird.
    Thanks for posting this, also really like your other posts. :)

    Jen x