Depression is a Real Illness

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The mental health issues in this country (U.S.) seem to be getting worse and worse. Everyday you hear horrible stories of people getting murdered, getting abused, or committing suicide.

Even in this day and age, openly talking about mental issues is taboo or just not talked about. I wish more people would just start talking and maybe, just maybe, people would realize it is not a personal failure to have depression, anxiety, or any mental illness and talking about it is not only ok, but helpful.

There are many things in life that society has deemed taboo, wrong, or shameful but some of these things should never be labeled as such. One of them is this mental illness stigma we seem to have as a society; as a country. It has gotten better over the recent years with celebrities openly talking about their issues. This is good; however, it is not enough. Society holds these celebrities on a pedestal at times and some may think that it is ok for these other people to come out about mental issues but they still feel that it is not ok for everyone else.

I think a lot of the stigma comes from what we as a society teach or has taught current/younger generations as well as the past treatment of mental illness sufferers. As most know, society has not been kind to those with mental illnesses. In the not so distant past, instead of getting the help that they needed, people were put into jails and mental institution where they were harmed, not helped. I am not an expert and have no idea why society is so strange regarding mental illness but as sufferer, I wish it was talked about more openly and without fear of judgement.

I encourage anyone that feels down or sad more than a week or two to seek help. I remember when I first heard about depression that I thought it was feeling sad all the time or crying all the time. I quickly learned that this is not always the case, but it can be. Depression can range from debilitating to functioning sadness, which is commonly called walking depression.

Depression is a real thing. No it is not just ‘in your head’ or something you can ‘just snap out of.’ If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone tell me to just ‘think positively’ or ‘it’ll be ok, you don’t need meds.’ I would have a lot of dollars by now!

Sometimes when you realize that you are suffering it can feel lonely or embarrassing. You may think that it is because you are too weak brained or that you are suffering because you deserve it for some perceived error in your life. None of these things are true. No one deserves to feel unhappy all the time, sad all the time, or feel isolated and alone. If anyone feels like they are the only one, I am here to tell you…you are definitely not and there is help. It can feel odd to talk about it at first but I can attest that it feels so good to get it out and talk about your feelings and how your depression is affecting you.

If you feel you need to talk to someone, do it. Grab a trusted friend, teacher, parent, or counselor and tell them what you are going through. Sometimes we think we know it all and no one can help but in reality there are others out there, professionals and non-professionals, that may know a little more than we do about depression and can give us helpful or insightful information.

Just remember:

It is not weak to have depression or other mental illness.

It is not weak to ask for help.

It is not weak to have to take medication for the illness.

All in all, that is what depression is…an illness

If you have an infection in a cut, you go to the doctor to get it looked at and get medicine. It is the same for mental illness; go to the doctor and get help and medicine if you need it.

I have depression and take medicine for it. I am not ashamed. Who is with me?!


 

If you or someone you know needs support for depression, anxiety, or any mental illness, please see the following resources:

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Befrienders Worldwide

Other Hotlines

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