“Life is too short, and life is too long to let depression go untreated.”
This is what an article that I recently read said. It mentioned the importance of treating depression in a world where 300 million people suffer from it. With those figures, it seems that if we have not been depressed, at least we know about someone who is. And even then, depression remains a poorly understood condition.
Partly because there are many myths surrounding it, but also because it is a difficult subject to deal with in our day-to-day conversations. It’s not the same to talk with a friend about your visit to the doctor because your throat hurts, that admitting something more painful such as being depressed.
To understand the topic and to put an end to the false beliefs that surround it, I’d like to share some general but useful information everyone needs to know about depression.
Being sad does not mean being depressed.
Just no. Sadness is part of our basic emotions, and it is quite common to feel sad from time to time, depending on the circumstances. Being sad as a result of a loss or emotional wound is an expected psychological reaction. That we are not happy at all times does not mean that we’re depressed.
Depression encompasses much more than sadness.
Depression is a chronic mental condition that involves prolonged periods of sadness. But that is not the only feeling that is experienced. People suffering from depression may also experience apathy, lack of concentration, shame, anxiety, and a sense of hopelessness. In addition, many people with depression report feeling a kind of numbness state. Understandably, sleep patterns, appetite and overall energy level of the person are affected. And as a result, this has an impact on the quality of life of the person in question.
Depression is not as obvious as it might seem.
The image we usually have of someone depressed is that of a person lying in bed with no will to stand up. Or someone crying in the corner of their bedroom listening to sad songs on loop.
But that isn’t usually the case. Depressed people are still people – they go to school, do their work, go out on the street, and do the best they can to live and cope with the day. You also have to keep in mind that being depressed does not mean feeling absolutely bad 24 hours a day. There can be real moments of happiness and well-being.
There is no visible or infallible look or symptoms to know if someone has depression or not at first sight.
Depression can be treated.
It’s easy to think that the future is dark when you’ve got depression or you want to help someone who suffers from it. That’s why it’s important to know that it doesn’t have to be so bad. There are ways to treat this condition. Psychological counseling is always recommended and, in fact, is one of the main reasons for consultation. But it isn’t the only way to treat depression. Depending on its severity, you can visit a psychiatrist.
Also art therapy, support groups and keeping in touch with family and friends who understand can be useful. Many times, the most effective treatment is a combination of these methods.
If you feel depressed, seek professional guidance (the sooner the better) to determine what is happening and how you can get help. If a loved one shows signs of being depressed, encourage them to do the same.
Remember: life is too short, and at the same time, too long to let depression go untreated.