Understanding the complex mental health symptoms of depression can be difficult for individuals or their loved ones. While depression may resemble typical sadness, living with this condition is markedly different from experiencing occasional bouts of sadness or temporary low moods.
Depression manifests through a range of negative emotional symptoms, such as persistent feelings of sadness, worthlessness, despair, and a diminished interest in daily activities. Coping with these symptoms can have detrimental effects on both personal and professional aspects of life.
It is important to recognize that depression is not a mere emotional issue. Its impact on mental health is influenced by various complex factors, including past traumas and experiences of marginalization. It is more prevalent among socially disadvantaged individuals and tends to affect women more than men. Furthermore, depression can be associated with underlying elements like nutrient deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, and chemical imbalances in the brain.
According to a survey conducted in 2018, the majority of adults in the United States, approximately 87%, do not perceive having a mental health condition as something to be ashamed of. Nonetheless, it is evident that certain stigmas persist:
- Around 55% of individuals believe that mental illness is distinct from serious physical illnesses.
- About 39% admit that their opinion of someone they know would be influenced if that person had a mental health disorder.
- Approximately 33% express fear or apprehension towards individuals with mental health conditions.
Individuals living with depression often encounter difficulties in conveying their condition to those close to them. It is crucial for people who have loved ones struggling with depression to make an earnest attempt to understand the following key points.
Depression and sadness are not the same thing.
Depression and sadness are two different things. Sadness is a natural emotion that arises in response to unfavorable circumstances, but it typically fades away after a few days. On the other hand, depression is characterized by a prolonged state of sadness that can persist for weeks, months, or even years. It exerts a pervasive influence, impacting various aspects of your life, such as your personality, interests, and outlook on the future.
Depression is not a choice.
Depression is not a choice they make. Its impact extends to different areas of their lives, including relationships, work, and education. Constantly experiencing a low mood and finding even simple tasks demanding are not deliberate choices. Depression is beyond their control. They cannot prevent it from affecting them. It is important to understand that having depression does not make someone weak or lacking in strength.
They can still have good days.
Not every day is a bad day for them. They can still experience good days amidst their struggle with depression. Although there are days that prove challenging, they also have moments when they feel okay and capable of engaging in activities. It is a common misconception that depression only consists of bad days. The truth is that moods fluctuate, even on their good days. They can feel a sense of control and the potential to accomplish something, even if it is as simple as meeting a friend for coffee. Depression encompasses a blend of both good and bad days.
Hurting us is the last thing on their minds.
When we see a loved one experiencing depression, it can be incredibly challenging for us, their friends, and their family. We often struggle to understand how to provide the best support and help. In such situations, it is not uncommon for us to unintentionally create distance, believing it will protect them. We might feel guilt and fear of letting them down. Sometimes, we may mistakenly take things personally or say hurtful things without truly meaning them. Loving and caring for someone with depression can be difficult, but standing by them and showing unwavering love and support is one of the most profound acts of kindness we can offer.
They are trying their best to manage depression.
Dealing with depression requires ongoing effort. Recovery is not a one-time choice; it is a continuous decision they must make. Ignoring or disregarding depression is not an option. It necessitates appropriate treatment from a qualified medical professional. If therapy and/or oral treatments are part of their process to navigate through depression, they need love and support from their family and friends. Seeking help is not something to be ashamed of. Depression can make them feel isolated and lonely, so having someone standing by their side can alleviate that sense of solitude.
When you find it challenging to manage your mental health, it is essential to remember that seeking help is absolutely okay. Reach out to someone you trust, such as a friend, parent, or general practitioner. You can also consider contacting a helpline for support. While it may feel intimidating, talking to someone about your emotions and experiences is crucial. Remember that you don’t have to face it alone; seeking support is an important step towards finding the assistance you need.
Visit Mindshift Psychological Services to help you with your depression or anxiety. You may check out their website to learn more about their therapy and counseling sessions. You can contact them at (714) 584-9700 to schedule an appointment.