Help Someone with Depression: Understanding the Myths Surrounding Them

Mental health is one area of the medical world that often does not get the attention it deserves despite the staggering number of lives it claims every year. Did you know, statistically, suicide claims one life every 40 seconds? That’s about 800,000 lives a year! Why does this silent killer then not attract the attention that it should? Sadly, at times, the reason is denial to accept. In many cases, people suffering from depression fail to acknowledge the reality of its existence in their lives. Why does that happen? Here are 5 thoughts that stop one from accepting depression.

1. ‘Being sad is not a disease’

When you talk to someone with depression and ask about how it all started – it often includes ‘it was just a feeling of sadness all the time.’ This sad feeling is something that is repeatedly looked down upon in our society that expects one to be happy and roaring to overcome challenges. Being sad is seen as a ‘part of life’ that everyone feels and thus it is believed that it should not be given much attention.

It’s true that being sad is not a disease, but depression isn’t sadness alone. Depression is a condition that takes over one’s entire existence by changing the way one looks at life. It is a disease that requires treatment, as much as a broken bone that needs to be fixed.

2. ‘It cannot happen to me’

If one has always been a happy-go-lucky kind of an individual with a positive attitude towards everything in life, it becomes almost impossible to accept that depression can creep up in their lives too. This is an unfortunate belief that time and again feeds the denial stage in the process of acceptance.

According to a study, depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain that could be triggered by a number of reasons. Thus, a person’s personality at one point in life does not guarantee immunity to depression.

3. ‘I am just over sensitive’

There have been so many cases where people equate their symptoms of depression with them being ‘oversensitive.’ As humans, we often end up being too critical of ourselves that leads us to believe that our mental state is our own doing because we ‘feel things too deeply.’

While feeling too deeply is a reality for some, it isn’t the same as depression. Being oversensitive can cause one to feel hurt about a lot of issues but it does not result in a prolonged state of sadness that cannot be defined.

4. ‘People will think of me as weak’

The societal pressure of coming across as a mentally strong individual cannot be expressed with ease. This pressure causes many people to live in a closeted life because the impact of public ridicule associated with mental health conditions is beyond repair at times.

When someone suffers from a physical condition that can be tested through the laboratories, it attracts sympathy; but when someone suffers from a mental health condition where pathological tests fail to detect the problem, it attracts doubts and questions. This mindset is one of the biggest factors that forces people to present a tough exterior. Sadly, it is more prevalent in men due to the societal expectations of men being ‘macho’ who do not get bothered by ‘mere emotions.’

5. ‘It cannot be fixed’

This thought is a very common observance in people suffering from depression who are unable to grasp the reality due to the magnitude of its impact. It often causes one to lose hope and think of this lingering sadness as a part of their lives which cannot be fixed.

Thankfully, medical sciences have developed multiple methodologies to help patients via different forms of therapies as well as medication.

Many doctors are also recommending to add meditation and breathing techniques to their patients care to help with stress, anxiety and depression. One breathing meditation technique, Sudarshan Kriya Yoga, SKY, has research that shows a 70% reduction in depression in just one month’s time practicing daily. Increasing happiness is connected to your breath. Experience for yourself the power of breath with this free Breath & Meditation session with a live instructor, Beyond Breath.

Do you know someone who might be suffering from depression?

If your answer is ‘yes’ or ‘I think,’ then you hold an unimaginable power to be there to help that someone through it.

What can you do to help?

1. Observance

Unlike physical ailments, depression is a condition that doesn’t always show its symptoms. Many times, people suffering from it, even master the techniques to present themselves as happy and ‘fine’ when in public. However, when you know someone closely, upon observation, you can pick up on smaller things that might indicate towards an underlying cause. Therefore, being observant is a key factor when it comes to helping someone with depression.

2. Patience

As someone going through a turmoil in their mind, it often becomes hard for people to let others in with ease and when forced, it might cause them to turn defensive and build a wall around themselves. Therefore, patience is another important factor while helping someone with the condition.

3. Love and Understanding

Most importantly, the feeling of being misunderstood and being told that it’s all in their head leads to many people hiding their true emotions for the fear of being judged and told down. Therefore, love and understanding are crucial in such situations.

Acceptance plays a major role in the life of anyone suffering from a mental health condition. Without acceptance, it is almost impossible to move forward towards recovery. It must be understood that like every other physical ailment, depression too is real – it has its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

To anyone suffering from depression – You’re not alone! Help is just one ask away.

Disclaimer: This article was first submitted by me and accepted to be posted on the Art of Living blog.

Featured image credits: Photo by Andre Moura from Pexels

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