What is It?
19 million people are affected by it, and nearly 10 percent of the population experiences it in any given year. As many as 1 in 33 children, 1 in 8 adolescents, and 1 in 5 adults has it. Only 1/3 of those experiencing it will seek help. Considering that more than 80-90% of those seeking help report feeling better in the first few weeks,1 that’s horribly unfortunate. What is IT? DEPRESSION
“Depression…Maybe it’s that feeling of being a caged tiger that intermittently erupts and threatens to consume you. Maybe it’s the negative, nagging thoughts of running away, disappearing, and hibernating that are nipping at your heels. Maybe it’s the subtle simmering in your mind of certain words that would usually never occur, words like death, sleeping pills, and funerals.
Maybe it’s the shroud of numbness as you sit among utter chaos, yet you feel nothing. Maybe it’s the veil of mental fog and utter disconnect from those you see around you but the stark realization that even in a room full of people, you feel no one. Who knows. But somehow, you’re left stumbling in slow motion through the deep dark dismal abyss of depression.”
It’s a word many don’t utter and even fewer like to admit. In fact, I see many faces in counseling that cringe at the mere mention or suggestion that we consider the symptoms or evaluate for it.
There is Hope
I don’t sit in judgement on this. I too have struggled with the admission of such a journey through darkness. I too have struggled with a smile on my face, hoping it hid the pain deep within. I too have ached from the thoughts that tormented but didn’t want to express the ugly beast I was fighting internally. Yes, I even sat and googled depression images, to see that I wasn’t alone or that someone else just might understand. And if you ever want an eye-opening account of depression, I challenge you to google depression images.These depression images are startling, stark, and silent. They leave you speechless at the pain beneath the words and pictures, yet they are REAL. Click & Tweet!
The quotes above were my very own words as I described depression in a guest blog nearly three years ago. If you’d like to read that full account, as well as some suggestions for dealing with depression, please follow the link at the bottom of this page.
It is Common
Depression is one of the most common things we see in counseling. You might consider it the “cold” or “flu bug” of mental health issues. Depression may be a sole diagnosis or may exist with something else, such as anxiety. In fact, these two are quite commonly seen together.
Depression affects both men and women, with a higher incidence among women. It is projected that 10-25% of women and 5-12% of men will experience depression at some point during their lifetime.1 If you factor in your chances, or the chance that someone you know or care about may experience depression, it makes sense to learn more!
Unfortunately, depression is not a common topic of conversation. And yet, just think what would happen if it was an acceptable topic. All stigma could be removed. There would be no apparent shame or guilt. What if people saw it as so many other illnesses within the body. We can sit at a dinner party and mention that we are staying away from sugar because we are diabetic. We can use crutches because we have a broken leg. We wear corrective lenses because our eyes aren’t working properly.How is it that when it comes to brain chemistry, hormone balances, or something not working properly in our brain it becomes an issue to be avoided and hushed…an illness to suffer silently? Click & Tweet!
Who knows when it became social taboo to avoid the talk. Maybe it goes back to the early treatment of those with mental illness. Many things in the medical community were crude and heartless back then.
It’s time we sit up and see it for what it is!
After all, those going through it are forever changed and will never look upon it the same afterwards.
What if we were to take the societal blinders off and instead give them a new, clear, and understandable perspective about depression. One year ago, there was a similar stigma with those who had experienced sexual harassment or assault. Who would ever have imagined that a little # would be the symbol that got the ball rolling (#metoo). Exposing another epidemic that had been hushed and taboo.
I propose that those of us who have journeyed through depression boldly stand with a #DToo! Let’s establish this hashtag as the symbol that rocks society. Let’s facilitate a change of perspective! Let’s make our move while the awareness can develop a momentum!
I know one of the most impacting and helpful things for me while I was battling depression would be to hear of someone I liked or admired that had traveled a similar path. It was though I received hope via their experience and that they were still alive…and in most cases, quite content and happy! There was also the idea that if someone like “them” had gone through this, maybe I wasn’t so horrible after all.
Let’s get out there and do this!!
P.S. If you would like to know more about depression, please read the post below as I struggled through depression myself. Click here for a checklist of symptoms of depression that you can copy out and evaluate for yourself or someone you care about. Please scroll down to share on social media.
Now go post #DToo on your social media!Click & Tweet! #DToo I love someone who battled and survived depression!
Click & Tweet! #DToo — I’ve battled and survived depression too! And if my sharing can save one other person…it’s so worth it!
1Statistics from: AllAboutDepression.com and Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance