When a mate tells you he has depression, take him or her seriously!
When a mate told me he had depression, I recall thinking that is pretty weak, there is a label to allow people to be sad these days, can’t he just get over it? Why can’t he get out of bed? I struggle to get out of bed at times and can’t concentrate, why does he get an excuse? Just make your self move and get going. I remember being very dismissive. To be honest his life looked pretty good to me. If he could just simply choose to be happy, he would be fine.
In retrospect, I feel ashamed about my insensitivity and ignorance to what depression actually is. Part of the problem is we use the word ‘depressed’ to describe less serious problems like when our favourite team loses. Clinical depression is not feeling a bit down it is a chemical, clinical illness that can be debilitating and incapacitating. There is a lot more factors involved than just having a bad day it’s a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.
The problem with depression is that people believe that the person suffering from it can snap out of it. However, for brain diseases like dementia we would never imagine that someone could just stop forgetting. In the same way it is very difficult for the person with depression to not feel tired, full of anxiety and hopelessness. Having depression, like dementia is equally out of the person’s physical control, unfortunately depression comes with societal shame and inadequacy.
If you are experiencing depressive symptoms such as persistent sadness for longer than two weeks, finding you no longer get enjoyment in things you used to, decreased appetite, inability to sleep or excessive sleeping, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, or thoughts of wanting to die, please seek support. There are over one million Australians each year who are affected by depression so it is pretty common. You have nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to TIACS foundation who will guide you without judgment.
Depression is not different to any other illness; it requires diagnosis, intervention, and treatment. Just like other illnesses recovering from it requires love, support and patience from family and friends. So if someone you know is recovering mental health disease offer the same sort of support as you would a physical disease as these people often feel isolated and alone.
A few things you can do to help others overcome depression
- Use a different word than ‘depressed’ when things aren’t going your way.
- Try to be understanding when someone is acting differently and not jump to conclusions, as the saying goes, you never know what someone is feeling until you have walked in
- If you have a friend or family suffering from depression try not to judge, criticise, don’t offer advice or try to make things better. Simply listen and be a friend.
- Sometimes depression can put a burden on other members in the family in terms of chores and pressure to produce more money. It is important to check on them and see if you