Depression is one of those things that people don’t completely understand unless they have had an experience with it- either going through it themselves or being close to someone who has. I could rant about it for hours, mainly because I feel like “depressed” and “depressing” are some of those words that get thrown around in completely unnecessary moments and conversations.
I could use this blog post to talk all about statistics, psychology, brain chemistry, symptoms, etc. But you can easily find those with a simple Google search. Instead of talking about all of the things depression is, I’m going to talk about what it isn’t.
Depression isn’t an emotion.
Sadness is an emotion. Anger is an emotion. Frustration, fear, grouchiness, nervousness are emotions. These are things that everyone experiences. Depression, on the other hand, is not an emotion. Depression is a mental illness that lots of people experience, but not everyone. You cannot watch a movie and it make you feel “depressed”. Depression is a serious issue, and it does not come and go like everyday emotions.
Depression isn’t a joke.
I’ve heard way too many people make jokes about mental illness- OCD, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, etc. But that is all a topic for another day. When specifically talking about depression, people tend to treat it like something that can be funny. The truth is that depression is anything but funny. Making a joke about depression is like making a joke about malaria, small pox disease, or lung cancer. There are people out there who joke about serious things like that, but they are typically frowned upon, or yelled at. If someone makes a joke about depression, people just laugh, and some shrug it off. Not a big deal. Jokes about depression are inconsiderate, typically false (for example, referring to them as an emotion, or just “extreme sadness”), and can be triggering for the individual.
Depression isn’t an excuse.
When people avoid going to events because of depression, they are not just using it as an excuse to get out of it. Depression makes it hard to do anything, and people who have it will never use it as an excuse- it’s simply a reason, sometimes an inability to do something. It’s like having a broken bone; everything is difficult and typically not very “fun”.
“Depressing” isn’t an adjective.
“That movie was so depressing.” “Hey I finished that book you let me borrow! The ending was depressing!” “Stop acting like that, you’re being depressing.” Things like watching a movie can not make you be depressed. It can make you sad, it can make you think, and it can make you angry, but it can not give you the mental illness that is depression. Using a life-altering, emotion-numbing illness to describe a movie or book is very inaccurate and not necessary. “Depressing” will never be a proper term to use, especially when describing something that could most definitely not cause a mental illness.
Depression isn’t obvious.
Stereotypes are present for almost everything; they are especially there when it comes to depression. No one would ever believe that a girl who gets all A’s, has a good family, is actively involved in clubs and organizations, and that laughs all the time would have depression. However, that was me. Depression affects all types of people, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, background, job, relationship status, etc. It does not discriminate. Depression is not easy to spot, and not everyone who has it follows a specific set of descriptive words. Not everyone who has depression self harms. Not everyone who wears all black has depression. Stereotypes are false and harmful, and almost never tell the truth.
Depression isn’t what you think it is.
Unless you have experienced it yourself, you can never completely understand depression. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to be ignorant and oblivious to it. Depression is real. Depression is hard. Depression is a serious mental illness. However, despite these things…