Today, I want to discuss the common misconceptions I see floating around regarding depression. Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses, alongside anxiety, so it’s pretty crazy to me that these misconceptions are still so common! Hopefully this blog post will help a few people differentiate the truth and myths about depression.
1.) Everyone with depression has a bad life
I’m going to start off with what I believe to be the most common misconception when it comes to depression. A lot of people believe that someone with depression has to have a ‘bad life’, e.g. financial difficulties, bereavement, suffered a traumatic event. This simply isn’t true. Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain that isn’t always caused by an event in life, just like some physical illnesses aren’t caused by anything specific. Someone can seem to have the perfect life and suffer from depression. Depression doesn’t discriminate – it can effect any race, gender, ethnicity, religion. It’s an illness of the brain, which is an organ.
2.) Everyone with depression has suicidal thoughts
This is a common disbelief held by many people. Although many people who suffer from depression experience suicidal ideation, not everyone does. Just because someone shows all the signs of clinical depression, doesn’t mean they want to die. Some people diagnosed with depression want to die, some don’t. However, someone not experience suicidal thoughts does not make their illness any less serious. Everyone deserves help, despite the ‘severity’ of their illness.
3.) Men don’t experience depression
I think this misconception has become less common recently as more awareness is being raised around social media regarding men and mental health, but it’s still a huge misconception widely believed across society. Infact, the stigma surrounding men and mental illness leads to a lot of men feeling afraid to speak out about their issues, which can actually make their depression worse. Sadly, the highest suicide rate in the UK is for men aged 45-49. Men with depression are at huge risk of suicide and they need/deserve help. Having a mental illness does not make anyone less of a man.
4.) People with depression always seem sad
This is completely untrue. Your ‘happiest’ friend is often the one who’s suffering with depression. Your friend who laughs the loudest is often the one with the biggest inner turmoil. Your friend who cracks the most jokes is often the one who goes hope and cries themselves to sleep. Remember to look out for everyone, even your ‘happiest’ friends. Not everything is as straightforward as it seems, and everyone needs a little support from those around them every now and then.
5.) Depression is an emotion
This is WRONG. Sadness is an emotion, but depression is an illness just as valid as any physical illness, such as diabetes. The brain is an organ, so when the brain is poorly it can be extremely dangerous. Sometimes, the brain becomes poorly and that leads to clinical depression. The brain needs looking after just as much as any other organ, and sometimes that requires medication. Depression is much more intricate than feeling sadness.
6.) Depression is just feeling sad
This is similar to my last point, and probably something I’ll do a whole blog post focusing on at some point. I have a lot to say regarding this point, but for now I’ll just say this: depression isn’t as simple as just feeling sad. Depression can be feeling so numb, being unable to escape the dark clouds surrounding you. Depression is different for everyone, but it certainly isn’t just sadness.
I really hope this post helped some of my readers understand depression better and help eradicate some of the common misconceptions surrounding this awful illness. If you’re struggling, my comment section is always there for you to vent/rant. I’ll also leave some numbers for helplines in the UK down below if you’re struggling at any point.
Lots of love,
Mind: 0300 123 3393
Samaritans: 116 123
YoungMinds (adolescent service for children/teenagers and parents/carers): 0808 802 5544
Addiction helpline: 0845 769 7555
Beat (adult): 0808 801 0677
Beat (under 18’s): 0808 801 0711