A lot of people around the world have depression, and most people hesitate to talk about the elephant in the room. With no proper knowledge or awareness, we tend to build misconceptions around this ailment. Even the most successful people throughout history, including Stephen Hawking, Winston Churchill, and Abraham Lincoln, have dealt with some form of depression. The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that about 350 million persons in the world are suffering from depression as we speak.
Loss of interest in things that you generally enjoy, low energy levels, insomnia or oversleeping, inability to focus, frustration, loss of appetite or overeating, and suicidal thoughts are some of the symptoms of depression. However, one cannot jump to conclusions based on these signs without consulting an expert in the field. There are numerous misconceptions and myths surrounding depression, which we should be aware of.
It’s All In The Head
A major misconception we hold about depression is that it’s psychological and that it cannot be physical. We only see the emotional facets of depression in the form of moods swings. But the condition can manifest as physical problems as well. Knowing that depression causes physical illness too should make one reevaluate their opinions and, if they feel the symptoms, visit a certified doctor.
It’s A Weakness
We love and admire people of intellect, knowledge, and superior cognition, and associate it with a sound mind. Maybe due to this reason, some may deem people with mental health issues weak. This is not true. Depression is a clinically diagnosable condition and needs treatment. In fact, it can happen to the strongest and sharpest of people. We must look at it just the way we look at physical health. We must prioritize our mental health as well. Remember, the brain is also part of our body. If anyone thinks you are weak for having depression, then that should not be your concern, and they need to be educated about the topic.
An Awful Moment / Trauma / Heartbreak Causes Depression
An awful moment or a traumatic event brings sadness, but that does not necessarily cause depression. Sadness is a part of depression but not its foundation. Loss of a loved one, or failure in a certain area of life, could heighten the feelings of sadness; but what makes it a part of depression is the prolongevity and episodes of the sadness.
Antidepressants Are The Only Way / Enough To Treat Depression
Medication is not the only way, or is not enough, to treat depression. Depending on the form of depression, taking prescription pills can work for some, while for others receiving cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)--one-on-one talking sessions with a licensed therapist--can work. And, a qualified medical professional is the right one to guide you on the right mode of treatment.
Depression Is Purely Psychological
Research shows that there is a genetic component to depression; around 10 to 15 percent of people under study inherited depression from an ancestor who suffered from the same. So, it is necessary to find out if an ancestor, such as a parent or grandparent, had depression or not.
Only Women Get Depressed
Depression doesn’t see sex, age, or class; it can happen to anyone. Many people presume it hits only women. However, this isn’t true because, according to research, men who suffer from depression often don’t talk about. Societal stereotypes like “men don’t cry” or “a man’s heart is of steel” holds back men from confessing their problem. Studies also show that another reason men don’t admit, or get treatment for, depression is it may hurt their masculinity and make them appear weak.
Signs of depression in men are different from women. Only a medical professional can guide a depressed person. And that will happen when the person asks for help. For this, we as a society must create an environment where everyone can openly talk about their mental health. We need to prioritise our mental well-being. People like Ellen Degeneres, Johnny Depp, Eminem and Lady Gaga have all battled depression and they have spoken of it publicly. One who is battling depression is not less of a person, and we as a society can contribute our part by understanding.