Depression is just like a physical disease the only difference is that you can’t see it like you would cancer, alopecia, vitiligo, amputation, stroke, heart disease or some other physical ailment. Depression is a mood disorder that can cause extreme and persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness. According to the National Institutes of Health in 2016 16.2 million adults in the United States had a major depressive episode. Of course, the number was higher for females with 8.5% experiencing symptoms compared to males who experienced it 4.8% of the time. Between the ages of 18-25, the reported rate of depression was higher at 10.9%.
A few days ago, I created a post on Facebook about how people don’t see depression as a physical disease. Interestingly enough there were few likes on the post and it was exactly what the author of the original piece had said. People don’t understand what they can’t see. For some depression is just sadness and some people feel like you’re a wimp because you gave into the feelings, I say that you are the exact opposite. Depression is a sign that I believe that a person has been too strong for too long. I should know because I’ve experienced depression a couple of times in my life when stressful, traumatic and overwhelming situations occurred in my life.
Life can be difficult filled with disappointments and sadness, yet there is still hope and joy. Although it seems like we are bombarded daily with negative news and unsettling world events we still have to take care of our minds so that we can function well. Each day we are barraged with tragic, active shooter events and the perpetrator is mostly said to have some sort of mental issue, which includes depression. So many of us are walking around angry, hurt and in pain that sooner or later we snap and take it out on someone violently. I’m not saying that people who have depression or mental illness are violent, however, when symptoms present themselves and we ignore them or don’t address them we can suffer under the effects and that damage can have severe consequences for the people around us.
Medical strides have been made on a variety of pills that can diminish or eliminate symptom, however, exercise and talk therapy have worked wonders for me, although one of the things that I have learned is that I need to invest my time in people that care for me and are not just there because I can supply a need. Unfortunately, I believe many people don’t have a reliable support system in place to help them navigate feelings and situations. I personally know how it feels to be in a room filled with people and feel utterly alone. Just because you have people around you, friends or not, spouse, children it doesn’t stop the feeling of sadness, worthlessness or loneliness.
When I became a Mom, I felt very lonely although people kept telling me that I was blessed. I knew that people didn’t understand and the only other people that could understand were other mothers, unfortunately, the insidious nature of depression tells you that you’re not worth it. So you stop trying and caring and just sort of ignore and go with the flow. Regrettably, that makes things go from bad to worse. Personally, for myself, I’ve learned that I don’t always know what or how to ask for what I need from people. Historically speaking for me asking has always made me feel weak and insecure.
Life was simple as a teenager when I could walk next door and see my bestie and we could sit on the porch and just let the day pass and the comfort of being around each other was enough. Now there are schedules, events, and life to manage and it all just feels like one giant hamster wheel. I’m not saying that it’s so bad it’s almost insurmountable, but that we still have to stop, breathe and take care of our minds so that we can continue. Pick up the phone, send an email, text or go over to whoever is special to you and sit and just talk. If that’s not an option then go to a professional. My therapist is a woman who is compassionate and understanding. She doesn’t let me get away with my pity party she challenges me to understand my issue and help me move on. I have a couple of friends who push me to take care of me and me alone. For them, I’m forever grateful I’m always reminded to keep my focus on my goal of becoming the author that I desire to be.
Psalms 62: 1-2, “Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation 2. He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.” This scripture brings me peace and reminds me that I’m not alone, God is always with me.
As you go about your day remember that Depression is a physical disease, you just can’t see it, however, also remember to treat people with kindness you may be the only one who does. None of us know what anyone is battling so be nice. Be a blessing and not a curse.