“Depression” what is the first thing that came to your mind ?
A sad lonely person sitting by the window side during the rain, right .. ?
What if I told you Depression doesn’t have a particular emotion ?
What if I told you a Depressed person doesn’t necessarily have to look like an unhappy soul all the time ?
We are in the 21st century still there are many misconceptions about Depression. People have unwritten rules about how a depressed person should be. If they don’t fall into that category they are not accepted to have depression and simply tagged as ‘Attention Seekers.’
How disheartening right ?!
We encounter people suffering from depression in our daily life . We all try to be kind and supportive but are we really helping them out of it or are we driving them even deeper ?
As a friend , sibling or relative we obviously want to help them Here are 6 things every depressed person wants you to know.
1.Don’t say ‘If you pray /eat/ sleep better ,you’ll feel better.’
I do understand that having a better lifestyle can mitigate my symptoms but it is no cure for someone with severe depression.Normal day-to-day activities is a battle for me. When this illness is eating me up from the inside , It is hard for me to get out , fake a smile and be social. Don’t make feel like I’m just being lazy. I know you are trying to help me but sometimes it does no good to me other than worsen it.
2. Don’t say ‘I don’t think you have depression’
There can be somedays when I am happy ,that doesn’t mean my illness is gone . “Depression is like having a lifetime imprisonment , you will get to go out for a while but you know you have to go back anyway.” You don’t know how many days I struggle to fake a smile so that I don’t have to give you an explanation. It took everything in me to tell you about how I feel , please don’t make it look like I’m faking it.
3. Don’t say ‘I KNOW HOW IT FEELS’
I understand that you are trying to share my pain but saying this just makes it worse. This illness has affected me beyond what words can express and when you say this , it makes it seem like my pain is measurable. Depression manifests in different ways to different degrees. Even if your problem was similar to mine , I don’t think anyone can understand what I’m going through.
Instead say: I wish I could understand what you are going through, know that I’m always here for you no matter what.
4. Sorry for the unanswered calls
When I keep bailing out at social events I want you to know that I tried my best to make it there but I just couldn’t beat this demon today. Sorry about the unanswered mails and phone calls , it doesn’t mean that I don’t like you . Sometimes even the thought of my phone makes me anxious. When I do like this, please know that it is the depression talking.
5.Don’t say ‘You have nothing to be feeling this way’
Yes , I do know that I have loving parents , siblings and friends who care about me . But what about this depression which is making me feel like I don’t deserve any of these. How can I see the good when feel worthless , hopeless and miserable all the time.
6.Depression is not my choice
I wish you knew I don’t choose to feel this way. Why would anyone choose to feel empty ? “Depression is like surviving in a body with a mind which wants to die.” When I snap at you and get irritated over nothing, please understand that I don’t mean to hurt you. It is the illness which makes me feel this way.
Around 250 million people are suffering from Clinical depression all over the world and 45% of them go undiagnosed ending up in suicide.
Studies show that every 1 in 5 women suffer this illness atleast once in their lifetime.
Telling someone with depression to ‘stop feeling that way’ is like telling a crippled person to get up and walk. So stop being dumb.
Lets spread the awareness and do our part.
If you know someone who is dealing with depression please take them to the Psychiatrist before it is too late.
Jehosheba is a final year medical student and a Lifestyle blogger. She hails from the Southern tip of India and currently calls Shandong province of China her home.