Depression is a very painful and difficult human experience. Depression is actually quite common it affects about one in ten people at some time in their lives. For some people, it might happen only once and pass quite quickly without any outside help. For others, depression may be more of a problem it may last longer or come back multiple times – in these cases, it may require treatment.
Here are a few common myths people have about depression which makes them miss out on getting help at the right time :
Myth 1: “Nothing bad has happened to me, there’s no reason why I should be depressed. It must be my fault”.
Reality: Sometimes it is very hard for people to understand why they have become depressed, and they end up thinking that the depression is in some way their fault. But in almost every case, an outsider like a therapist can help people to see their depression in a different way. They do not have to blame themselves for feeling like that.
Myth 2: “I don’t know why people say this is depression. I’ve always felt like this. It’s just me, and nothing can change it”.
Reality: This is common when people have been treated badly early on, and have felt unhappy all of their lives. In this case, it is very difficult to see that the way they feel can be classified as depressed, and therefore not just how they are. It can be even more difficult to believe that it can change – but it can.
Myth 3: “Depression is biological – like a switch going in your brain – and there is nothing you can do about it. Only pills can make the difference” Reality: Depression is, in some sense, biological, more so for some people than others. And medication does help many people. But even if it is biological, it is clear that you may be able to speed the depression on its way by trying to make changes in the way you think and behave.
Myth 4: “Other people can cope with their lives without getting depressed – much worse things happen to them. I’m just weak and pathetic – I should be able to cope”.
Reality: It can look as though everyone is getting on with life and coping better than you. But this is partly because you tend to only focus on people who cope and not notice those who don’t. It may also be because people go to great lengths to hide it when they feel that they can’t cope, you might never see other people when they are having trouble coping. It is important to remember that the feeling that you cannot cope is a symptom of depression, and is not a sign that you are weak and pathetic.
Myth 5: “I should just be able to pull my socks up and get on with things. I shouldn’t need help from anyone else. Anyway, talking about yourself is just selfish and self-indulgent, and doesn’t help”.
Reality: If it were this simple, no one would ever be depressed. In fact, vast amounts of public money are poured into treatments of depression because it is recognised that people cannot just snap out of it, and talking in a constructive way that has been shown to help a lot of people.
Myth 6: “Why should I take medication? It won’t help, it can’t change the things that are making me depressed”.
Reality: It is true that medication will not change the things in your life that are troublesome. But it can help to make you feel better and therefore to cope with your problems in a different way.