What Depression Is Not

What Depression Is Not

Because you would never say "it's just cancer, get over it."
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I am young, only 19 in fact, and I have already witnessed the detrimental effects of one disease way too many times. I have seen people my own age become consumed with this disease, and take their lives because of it. I have seen wonderful, amazing people in my life affected by this disease- teenagers, parents, grandparents. The list is endless. I am tired of hearing people say, "But she was so pretty!" or "Awh he was so young and smart," even "Wow, he had 3 beautiful children!" after someone commits suicide. None of that matters. We, as a society, do not truly understand depression. I do not expect people without depression to understand how it feels, but I do expect them to understand the severity of it. It seems as if educating people about what depression is has not been effective enough for society to take it seriously, so let me tell you all of the things that depression is not.

Depression is not discriminatory.

Depression does not care how smart, pretty, talented, or kind you are. It will attack and consume anyone it can; no one is too attractive, intelligent, athletic, creative, or kind-hearted for it's wrath. Depression does not care if you are 20 years old or 67 years old, it will overtake your thoughts. Depression is not discriminatory; depression affects anyone and everyone it can.

Depression is not obvious.

You probably won't be able to tell that someone you know or love has depression, unless they choose to tell you. Even though a person with depression is fighting a constant battle with their own mind they know how to hide it, and well. You can not tell that someone is depressed just by looking at them, and probably not by talking to them either. Always be kind to everyone because you never know what someone is going through, sometimes the happiest people have the darkest thoughts.

Depression is not "just a mood."

While depression may come and go, it is never "just a mood". A bad mood is being annoyed with everything for an hour, and getting over quickly enough that you still go to the movies with your friends. Depression is not something you can "snap out of", and it most definitely is not something that will be resolved within an hour. Depression can last for days, weeks, months, or even years-it is a never-ending battle that is way more destructive than a bad mood.

Depression is not just elevated sadness.

Depression has a way of devouring the positive thoughts in your brain, which affects a person in more ways than you would think. Yes, when you have depression you are feeling down, sad, and blue, but it is so much more than that. When your mind is destroying all of the positive thoughts in your head you not only feel sad, you feel as if you have no worth, as if you are not good enough, as if you are undeserving of happiness, as if you are burden to everyone, as if you have no reason to live. All of these negative thoughts can destroy a person's mind and body; depression is so much more than elevated sadness.

Depression is not a made up illness.

It has been scientifically proven that people with depression have higher levels of stress hormones present in their bodies, and lower levels of happy hormones. People with depression also have been found to have decreased brain activity in certain parts of their brain. Depression is not only biological, but it is also genetic. It spreads from generation to generation, so it is a vicious cycle that does not seem to ever have an end. Depression is not made up -- it is a real disease, a disease that is just as detrimental to a person's body and well-being as any other. Let's start acting like it.


Cover Image Credit: www.medicaldaily.com

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Take A Break, Trust Me, You Need It

It was something I didn't know I needed. And I feel much better from it.

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I recently went on a little mini vacation. Where'd I go, you ask? Nowhere.

That's the best part.

Thankfully, I have a full-time job with great benefits. One of them being paid time off. I recently used all of my PTO, plus the two days I get off a week, which turned into a long and well-needed mini staycation. I stayed at home, slept, caught up on my programs, did some homework, and decluttered.

And you know what? It was something I didn't know I needed. And I feel much better from it.

I wasn't sick. I was mainly just stressed out and overwhelmed. It was like getting the rest I didn't know I was lacking. It was like having all the time in the world to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. No due dates, no deadlines. No time crunches, no schedules to follow (except my school one).

I'm not telling you to take a week off work and school. But, if you have that opportunity—PTO, spring break—then take advantage of it.

You don't have to go on some extravagant vacation either. Doing something as simple as staying in bed all day, watching Netflix, and spending time with your loved ones is just as relaxing.

It also taught me the importance of self-love and taking care of yourselves. I was stressed, and I feel like I'll never be fully "de-stressed," but for a while, I was able to sit back and smell the roses. I was able to recollect myself, spend some time on me.

Sometimes, you just need a day. Whenever I feel like I need a day off, whether it be with work or school, I usually feel bad about it. I feel awful missing class, or having to call out sick to work. I eventually get over it, though, because at the end of the day, I'm taking care of myself.

Missing one day won't kill you. Take care of your mental health.

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