September 19, 2019

Let’s remove the stigma from depression.

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Remove the shame

I was embarrassed to admit that I was moderately depressed. It was much easier to admit to high stress and low anxiety in my burnout. It felt ok to acknowledge the high stress, as it came with a false badge of honour awarded by a busy life. My embarrassment over depression came from a wrong understanding of what it is and why it had happened. A feeling of shame was feeding my embarrassment. I felt that I should be stronger than that.
Now I understand that high stress over a long period of time produced burnout and burnout produced my depression.
Psychologists tell me that there are many reasons for depression. For some it’s grief, and for others, it’s an imbalance of certain chemicals in the body. Irrespective of why we need to remove all shame from depression.

Get over it does not help

Depression is not just having a dark moment, but rather experiencing a sustained dark time where one loses sight of vision and becomes overwhelmed with difficulty. It’s like being in a deep hole with very slippery sides. Therefore, saying to the depressed person, “Get over it”, will not help.

What depression looks like

Depressed people feel deeply sad, some cry very often and others cry on the inside. They feel powerless, hopeless, guilty, and disappointed. Often there is a feeling of numbness, where the colour seems to go from the picture of life. Hope and joy seem to retreat from the emotions. Some feel so without hope and worthless that they want to kill themselves. Depressed people are easily irritated and find it hard to make decisions. Often it shows physically in long periods of sitting around and TV binge-watching. Other physical effects may be the gaining of weight and difficulty sleeping.

Am I depressed? Take this two-minute checklist

Get help

If you think you are, see your Doctor. Sometimes people confuse being sad with depression. Depression is more than the sadness we feel with the loss of a job or a loved one. Speak to a professional because they are qualified to diagnose and to guide your recovery path. Please get help when you need it! Is someone close to you depressed? The best care you can give is to assist them to find help and then provide a safe place for them to recover.

You can recover

My story is that depression is something that you recover from. Rest and professional help were the two things which helped me most, the latter helping me to change my thinking. I had an over-realised sense of responsibility. It is freeing to discover what is yours to do and letting go of what is not. Depression provides an opportunity to think and act differently.

It can lead to reinvention

What if we could change our thinking from depression as an enemy to depression can be helpful. Arch Hart, author and founder of the school of psychology at Fuller University, says, “Surprisingly, depression is one of the healing emotions. It removes us temporarily from our environment so that our bodies and minds can be restored .”

So, it’s a body’s response to deeper things and it initiates a space for restoration. The body is indicating that it needs rest. Consider depression as something helpful. It can lead to your reinvention.

What is your attitude toward depression?

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