People who have depression are often scrutinized by coworkers, friends and family for not being able to “get over it”.
As a society we often have difficulty associating pain, and illness to people who do not have any outside injury that is visible or a sickness that is measurable in numbers.
In reality people who suffer from depression have a pain that is not only routed deeply in their psyche, but often also extends throughout their body. These people have feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, guilt and sadness everyday, which can be unrelenting and tortuous. Depression impacts every aspect of their lives making it hard to concentrate, maintain friendships, and focus on tasks. The harder it becomes to perform activities of daily living the more it reinforces the feeling of worthlessness and sadness. The guilt roots itself deep within as the person feels helpless to perform the activities expected of them. The worst part is that usually the person is aware that what they are feeling is abnormal, knowing that their true self still lies within.
People who suffer from depression sometimes begin to believe they are a burden to those around them, or that the pain is just to overwhelming to live with, and they begin to think that maybe their life should end. Robin Williams was one of those people battling against anxiety and depression who lost their life.
It is time that the stigmatization associated with mental illness is lifted, making it easier for those suffering to seek help from health care professionals.There are many treatments for depression which can help an individual understand and take a proactive approach to recovery. It is not an easy path to recovery and it is filled with peaks and valleys, but making treatment more available, and less stigmatized can help people with depression win their battle.
If you know someone suffering from depression you can help them by understanding that the person does not have control over what they are feeling. Often someone suffering with depression can become isolated or say hurtful things, it is important to remember this is not about you but a symptom of their disease. Offering to help do some practical day-to-day task often helps the person by alleviating some stress. Recovery is a long journey, so be realistic and recognize the hard work they have been putting in instead of what stage of recovery they are in. Do not be scared to set boundaries and tell the person suffering from depression what behaviours you are not willing to deal with. Do not be scared to seek support for yourself to help you manage your feelings during this trying time.
Once the person with depression has recovered, encourage them to make a plan and map out early warning signs of depression. This way if depression reoccurs they will be able to recognize the problem and seek help right away. Getting help early on may help decrease the risk of complications.
Julie Boyer, RN
Canadian Mental Health Association retrieved from here.