For years, Robin Williams lifted our spirits with brevity and compassion. Shocking barely captures the emotions we all felt when we learned of his death. While I won’t speculate on the exact nature of his mental health, I will address depression and just how debilitating it can be. If we dispel these 7 unfair myths about depression I believe more people will feel safe and empowered to seek help.
1. Depression is for weak people and women who can’t control their emotions.
While it’s true that depression affects twice as many women as men, it’s not just a female illness. Nor is it a sign of weakness. In fact, no one is immune, and many strong, prolific people suffer from depression.
- Amanda Beard, Olympic gold medal swimmer
- J.K. Rowling, author
- Owen Wilson, actor
- Buzz Aldrin, astronaut
- Ellen DeGeneres, comedian
- Jon Bon Jovi, singer
- Demi Lovato, actress and singer
- Oprah Winfrey, TV mogul
- Stephen King, author
These individuals are achievers, creative maestros, and trend-setters, so it is impossible to say that depression only plagues the weak-willed. In fact, 9 percent of American adults from all backgrounds are diagnosed with depression; these are mothers, fathers, bosses, athletes, retail employees, librarians, mechanics, and more. The weak versus strong formula does not stand up to this.
2. The only way to treat depression is through lifelong medication.
Antidepressants can help to ease symptoms and make the path to recovery more attainable. A harmful misconception is that this dosage will be lifelong. That may be necessary in certain cases, but it far from true for all. For some, depression can be treated successfully with medication and interpersonal psychotherapy in as little as 24 weeks. Ultimately, a mental health professional can help you determine what course of action to take. There are many options to explore that suit your lifestyle and personality.
3. Depressed people should just snap out of this selfish phase.
This myth is just cruel and misinformed. Depression is a legitimate mental illness that induces stifling symptoms: lack of motivation, anxiety, loss of energy, sleep problems, self-loathing, and hopelessness are just a few. It is suffocating; if left unchecked, it can last for years. While the causes of depression are complex, the fact that is it NOT a choice is clear. Since it is not a choice, it cannot be considered selfish to suffer from depression. If they could “snap” out of it, they would.
4. Depression is minor and shouldn’t be taken as seriously as other mental health issues.
Mental illness isn’t a competition to see who has the worst case. Every situation is unique, and every person who suffers from depression, anxiety, or another mental health issue deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, no matter how severe or mild the illness may be. All forms of pain should be handled with care and compassion.
5. Depression is simply extreme grief or sadness.
Time has a way of easing grief and sadness. In the case of depression, time may be powerless. Depression lingers and it can be difficult to pin down the source, especially when a chemical imbalance is the cause. Waiting it out simply isn’t an option in many cases, and it’s not just a “phase”. A therapist can help break the stalemate. Treatment can be enhanced by lifestyle choices like exercise, goal setting, and healthy eating.
6. Depression is only a medical disease.
Depression is complex. No one can classify it as a purely medical ailment, and there is no magic cure. While physical treatments like medication, exercise, and meditation can ease symptoms, the underlying emotional roots of depression must be addressed as well. This reality adds credence to the fact that it is impossible to simply “snap” out of it.
7. I’m destined to suffer from depression because my parents or siblings have it.
Research shows that depression is caused by both hereditary and non-hereditary factors. Rather than live in fear, we can draw wisdom from the patterns in our family. We can be aware of potential triggers and risk factors. Even if depression does strike, there are treatment options. Our origins do not determine the outcome of our life.
Depression can affect anyone. By banishing the myths that surround this mental disorder, we can ensure that more people feel safe and welcome to reach out. If you suffer from depression, there is help for you. With treatment, proactive methods, and a positive community backing you, there is plenty you can do to conquer it.
Debunking Myths About Depression at Morningside
At Morningside Recovery, we want all of our clients to feel safe, empowered, and welcome within our walls. We debunk myths about depression because they can be damaging to a person’s recovery. We offer many options for mental health treatment, including:
Don’t let these myths about depression stop you from getting the treatment you need. Call Morningside Recovery today at 855-631-2135 to learn how you can get started.