Six Myths About Depression
Have you ever heard somebody say, ‘I just can’t seem to get out of bed,’ ‘I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders,’ ‘Do I have to go on living?’ ‘I feel nothing other than emptiness,’ ‘I feel like I am hurtling down an abyss/ bottomless pit’? Additionally, have you also felt that the person is having a bad day or is feeling sad? Unfortunately, chances are that the person isn’t simply sad but might be suffering from something far more serious. Whilst everyone feels sad or down from time to time, being depressed is drastically different. Depression is an illness characterised by low mood and/or associated symptoms that last for at least two weeks. The problem is particularly insidious because even though depression is very common, there is a general lack of awareness about what depression means, whether it can be overcome - and if so, then how.
More often than not, even if there is awareness, there is a reluctance to talk about it, or to seek professional help for it. Often, this lack of awareness or reluctance is also accompanied by shaming or social isolation of someone who seeks psychotherapy or medication to recover from depression. Here are some of the common myths and facts about depression.
Myth #1: Depression is a sign of weakness.
Depression is a real psychological condition. It can affect anybody and is not a sign of failure, weakness, high sensitivity, or the inability to take care of oneself.
Myth #2: People who are depressed are lazy.
Depression often causes fatigue and low levels of motivation and energy. It is not something one can ‘snap out of’ or ‘just get over’.
Myth #3: S/he is not depressed; s/he is just ‘moody’.
Some people who are affected by depression can get on with their day-to-day lives, mingle with people and smile, too. Such behaviour, however, requires a lot of effort on the part of these individuals. Rather than implying that they don’t have depression, such behaviour suggests that they are trying to cope with the illness however best they can.
Myth #4: Children are not affected by depression.
Research suggests that there is a growing incidence of depression in children and adolescents.
Depression in children, however, can manifest differently from depression in adults. It typically is reflected in such signs and symptoms as irritability, temper tantrums, behavioural problems and physical complaints such as headaches.
Myth #5: People with depression or mental illness are born with it.
While some people have a genetic vulnerability to depression, most often, it occurs because of the interaction of an individual’s biology with difficult life events. It is not necessarily something that will develop only because one has a family history of depression.
Myth #6: Depression cannot be treated; talking only makes it worse.
Depression can be successfully treated with medication and/or evidence based psychological therapies delivered by a qualified professional.
If you or someone close to you is feeling depressed, an InnerHour therapist will be able to help.
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