What Depression Is Not

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.

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