Is Depression as Easy to Deal With as People Seem to Think?
No, It Isn't
Seems like it would be self-explanatory, right? Of course it isn't easy to deal with, or else it wouldn't be such a massive problem. However, time and time again the same things are said. "Go for a walk. Cheer up. Just get over it." These phrases aren't just ignorant, but can be detrimental to someone's well-being. If someone could feel better by just doing it, why wouldn't they?
Reasons For Depression
Many assume depression is triggered by a specific, traumatic event, when in reality it's caused by many other factors, including, but not limited to:
- Physical Illness
- Substance Abuse
- Certain Medications Such As Isotretinoin (used to treat acne)
- Social Isolation
Those aren't the only factors either. There can be so many reasons it starts, and when someone with depression is told they just have to get over it, it can make the problem so much worse.
Why Can't Depressed People Just Go To Therapy?
A question I've heard countless times when talking to people with loved ones who are depressed. It's frustrating, but I can't blame people for not knowing much about the mental health industry. After all, it's not like it's ever mentioned in grade school. One of the main reasons is simple - not enough therapists. As a Canadian citizen, I am lucky enough to get help for free due to the health care system. The problem is that you get put on a waiting list for months or even years before getting to see someone. A time frame during which someone with depression has no choice but to stew in their own despair. It's even worse in the USA, where not only will you be put on a waiting list, you have to pay top dollar just to get on one.
Why Not Just Cure It With Some Medication?
I'm sad this question gets asked. Again, I can't blame people for misunderstanding, but it's not that easy. There's no cure for depression. No magical pill that makes you feel happy. That's not how medication works. Without getting all Bill-Nye here, depression is essentially a chemical imbalance in the brain. Medication helps balance it back to normal levels again. It's normal for doctors to prescribe different medications to see which one works best for you. In countries with health plans, this process takes even more time, as it can take weeks to see if a certain medication is good or bad for you. If you're in the USA it takes even more money, which many people can't afford, so they can't find the right medication. Even with the right meds, it takes a lot of effort to dig yourself out of the hole depression creates.
The Bigger Picture
If you're astute, you've noticed there's a dangerous cycle here. Someone becomes depressed and tries to get a diagnosis and therapist. They're put on a waiting list for months to years at a time. During this time, due to the lack of professional help, they retreat inward, becoming socially isolated and frustrated at not being able to enjoy life in the slightest. Due to this lack of enjoyment, it's difficult to hold down a job, get through school, or maintain any relationships with anyone. This means they have little to no resources when therapy and medicine does come their way. If they can't afford help, they'll stay depressed. That's the issue at it's core. Even with free health care, the waiting time can be excruciating, especially since more and more cases of depression keep popping up.
So What Can I Do?
First off, validate their feelings. Never say words like "Get over it." or "Just wait." It's likely a chemical imbalance. It isn't their fault, and being told that can mean the world to someone. Second, do the research. In this day and age, ignorance is a choice. It's difficult to find reliable sources on the internet, but make the effort, because someone suffering from severe depression likely won't. Finally, try and make time for them. It can be rough, as depression can come out as anger, sadness, apathy, or even hostility. Don't let them isolate themselves completely, don't let them feel alone.
There are way too many myths about various mental illnesses to list them all off, but many are very harmful and demeaning. What's worse is that no one is to blame for causing this problem, but it's possible to try and end it. Do some research into all kinds illnesses and try to break the image of mental health you might have in your head. Everyone has a mental health, the same way you have physical health and like physical health, mental health requires healthy choices to maintain. If you believe you are suffering from any kind of mental illness or strain, talk to a doctor.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.