I think depression like all mental illness has a certain stigma attached to it. So many people don’t understand what it is like to go through depression or anxiety. They think it should just be easy to snap out of it and get back to normal. And people can be so intolerant, often they look at you in disgust because they think your just out to get attention or sympathy or they think that you are lazy and selfish and that the alleged depression is just an excuse to justify your behaviour. But unfortunately depression is one of those things that can be triggered by many things, sometimes yes, it is possible that it can be triggered by things that may seem selfish. But everyone is allowed to have hopes and dreams for the future, plans for how we hoped our lives would pan out. And it is good to have a direction for your life. But things sometimes don’t go to plan and people can get upset, even depressed about it but they don’t need other people telling them they are selfish or that they should just let it go. They need someone to listen, to hold their hand and say “look I know this didn’t work out for you but maybe you have a different direction to go in.” They need to work through how they are feeling and move on once they have come to terms with it. Sometimes depression comes simply because we find it difficult to cope with stresses in our lives.
When one thing after another, after another just hit you out of the blue and things just don’t seem to be working or you feel like you just keep messing up it can be very difficult to maintain a positive mental and emotional attitude. Some days it just feels like the whole world is against me so what’s the point of getting out of bed. And in those situations it is really not something that they can just snap out of. Practical help during this time is often needed for these people so that they can have assistance in getting things back in hand and feel like they have some control in their lives again. Sometimes again, they just need someone who is willing to hold their hand and say look I understand things are not going well for you at the moment but I’m here for you and we will just work through this together. There are others for whom depression means withdrawing.
I have often heard it said that you cannot help someone who won’t help themselves. Whilst this is true, it is also in one sense an unfair observation. Sometimes the person in question cannot help themselves but they don’t want to ask for help because they don’t want to impose on people and they fear other peoples responses or remarks. People should not be made to feel bad or selfish for being depressed. Depression is more often than not a response to a failure to cope with a certain situation or a chain of events. Even if the depression is a selfish response, most people can come to that conclusion on their own and pointing it out to them only sinks them further. Some people withdraw from others when they are depressed. This can be for many reasons, they fear people’s response, they feel a sense of guilt or shame or they don’t want to burden others. Often it is the people we love the most and who love us the most we withdraw from because we don’t want to hurt them and because we don’t want them to get upset with us for still feeling this way. When I was suffering with depression it took me about 2 1/2 years to start to get over it. I felt horrible, I felt the shame and the guilt. I was frustrated with myself and I knew that it was affecting my marriage but I felt powerless to do anything. I think that if I had of had just one good friend who could of held my hand and sat and listened to me, even if I repeated the same things over and over again. If they could have just let me work through the feelings and the thoughts and helped me to make sense of everything and helped me to be able to cope, I think I would have gotten better a lot quicker. People are so quick to judge when they hear that someone has depression but it is real and it kills.
The Australian Bureau of statistics records that between 2001 and 2010 a mental or behavioural disorder was recorded for over half of all individuals that committed suicide (22,526 deaths were registered where suicide was determined to be the underlying cause. Of these suicide deaths, 22% (4,932) were recorded with a multiple cause of death; that is, any condition, disease or injury which was involved in the morbid train of events leading to death) and for whom a multiple cause was identified. The highest incidence of these disorders was observed in younger age groups: 58.6% of persons aged between 15 and 24 years and 61.6% of persons aged between 25 and 34 years. Within the category Mental and behavioural disorders two disorders were most commonly associated with suicide: Mood disorders and Mental and behavioural disorders due to psychoactive substance use. These disorders were also the most common Mental and behavioural disorders recorded with suicide across all age groups. Mood disorders were reported in 28.1% of all suicides where a multiple cause was identified.
Be kind to people with depression and be alert for signs in friends and relatives, especially around this time of year when they can feel lonely or overwhelmed.