The Hidden Toll of People-Pleasing on Mental HealthJuly 20, 2023
A New Year of Mental Well-Being: Resolutions Beyond Weight LossDecember 26, 2023
Around 17 million adults in the U.S. had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. It’s a mental health disorder that’s familiar to many. It may be a spouse, friend, coworker, or sibling, but it’s highly likely someone you know has experienced depression at some point.
Despite its prevalence, it remains widely misunderstood. Many misconceptions and myths surround depression that add to the stigma and can prevent people from getting the support they need. To increase awareness and improve the lives of those who suffer, we’re dispelling five common myths about depression.
1. People With Always ‘Feel Sad’
One of the most prevalent misconceptions about depression is that it’s simply a prolonged period of sadness. While sadness can sometimes be a symptom of depression, the condition is far more encompassing. Also, it’s worth noting that not everyone who suffers from depression feels sad 24/7.
Depression affects a person’s thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and physical well-being. It can lead to persistent feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and a loss of interest or pleasure in once-enjoyed activities. It often comes with physical symptoms like changes in appetite and sleep patterns, difficulty concentrating, and fatigue. Depression is not merely a fleeting emotion. It is a complex mental health disorder that lingers and significantly impacts your quality of life.
2. Depression Is a ‘Sign of Weakness’
Another harmful misconception is that people with depression are weak. This myth is very toxic! In reality, depression does not discriminate based on strength or character. It can affect anyone, regardless of their resilience.
You wouldn’t ignore a heart defect, diabetes, or other medical conditions, and depression should be treated equally! It’s a medical condition, often with underlying genetic, biochemical, and environmental factors. It’s essential to recognize that seeking help and treatment for depression is an act of courage and strength, not weakness.
3. You Can Just “Snap Out of It”
Telling someone with depression to “snap out of it” is not only unhelpful but can also be damaging. It’s a complex medical condition involving biological, psychological, and social factors that impact how someone feels.
As we mentioned before, depression is not a matter of willpower. Asking someone to shake off their depression is like asking someone with a broken leg to start running. Compassion, support, and understanding (along with professional treatment) are far more effective approaches for helping someone with depression.
4. Medication Is the Only Solution
Untrue. While medication can be an essential component of depression treatment, it is not the only option available for relief. There’s no one-size-fits-all treatment for depression or other mental health disorders. Each treatment should be personalized based on a variety of factors.
It’s also worth noting that there are as many “non-antidepressant” medicines that treat depression (and bipolar depression) as there are antidepressant options. Lifestyle modifications, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and stress management, also play crucial roles in alleviating symptoms. Getting support from a mental health professional is essential to determine the best treatment plan for relief.
5. You Can Spot Depression by Appearance
There’s a reason why depression is often called the “invisible illness”. It doesn’t always manifest as visible signs or behaviors. People with depression may appear “normal” on the outside while struggling profoundly on the inside. In cases of high-functioning depression, you might not even notice that a person is suffering because depression does not affect their day-to-day functioning or performance.
It’s crucial to remember that depression can affect anyone, regardless of their outward appearance or social status. Instead of making assumptions based on appearances, we should cultivate empathy and offer support to those who may be silently battling depression.
We Can All Help End The Stigma Surrounding Mental Health
Understanding depression and debunking these misconceptions is a great place to start when it comes to overcoming the stigma surrounding mental health. Depression is a genuine and complex mental health condition that deserves respect, empathy, and effective treatment.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, our team is here to help you explore all of your treatment options to find one that works for you. By dispelling these myths and providing support, we can reduce the stigma surrounding depression and encourage those in need to reach out for help and healing.