Sorry, depression isn’t something people can snap out of

“Snap out of it.” That is easily one of the most ignorant and insensitive statements anyone can make to someone
Depression
Sorry, depression isn't something people can snap out of.

“Snap out of it.” That is easily one of the most ignorant and insensitive statements anyone can make to someone with depression. Unfortunately, this statement is constantly uttered to people who are depressed. Not only is depression an illness that people cannot “snap out of,” but untreated depression is also the number one cause for suicide. More people should know that depression is a very serious mental illness that needs to be treated and is highly treatable too. Unfortunately, many people think individuals with depression are weak and that they are choosing to be depressed, therefore they should be able to “snap out of it.” Wrong. Here are the four biggest myths about depression

Myth #1: If it’s a ‘mental’ illness, it isn’t that serious

Our illness is hidden away – trapped within the depths of our mind. It cannot be seen, it cannot be heard and the only clue to its existence is when we choose to tell others about it. Unfortunately, the stigma that comes with admitting we need a little help can make it slightly harder for us to ask for help. A cancer sufferer is given sympathy because we can empathise with the fear of death. But what about depression? People can claim it exists but where is the proof?

Whether the cause is a life changing event, an imbalance of chemicals or simply a state of mind – we are physical; every single cell in our body is physical. You wouldn’t tell someone with heart disease that their illness isn’t real because it only affects one organ, so an illness of the brain must not be treated differently. Depression kills a lot of people. It’s time people take this seriously.

Myth #2: People who are depressed can actually just ‘snap out of it’

Everyone who has experienced depression has heard these immortal words. Whoever says this, suggests that they have absolutely no idea what people with depression are going through. And even more worrying, they are never likely to either. Of course those with depression can seek help, receive medication and work on changing our mentality, but this takes time and effort. There is certainly nothing ‘snappy’ about it. For some people, depression is part of their life 24/7. Just getting out of bed is a bigger task than running a marathon. It’s not daydreaming so expecting someone to snap out of it is unrealistic. 

Myth #3: If you have nothing to be sad about, you can’t be depressed

Rich and successful people are happy whilst the poor are wallowing in self-pity and a thousand crushed dreams. But this isn’t always the case. According to Huffington Post, studies have shown that happiness levels around the world are pretty much equal. Joy and sadness are fleeting emotions and we always return to our own base levels given enough time. If your baseline is depression, then all the money in the world cannot change that. Depression is an illness and therefore it requires treatment and help, not deep pockets. Depression doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care about your bank balance or what car you have in the garage. Your achievements and successes mean absolutely nothing because when it strikes, it does so without remorse.

What happens when a movie star or an athlete admits to struggling with depression? People say things like: “How ridiculous, how can he/she be depressed with millions in the bank? Get a grip. There are millions of people who would love to be in their position.”

Myth #4: You need a doctor to tell you that you are depressed

“But how do you know you’re depressed? Have you been to a doctor?” Of course doctors are pretty good with this medical lark. But whether they diagnose you with depression or not is largely based on guesswork. The person who is feeling like utter crap doesn’t need to guess. They know how they feel. It’s there tormenting them hour after hour, day after day.

A doctor can lead you into the hazy world of medication but you don’t need one to tell you how you are feeling. You tell them how you are feeling. You tell them that you are experiencing depression, not the other way around.

Signs and symptoms of depression

According to Beyond Blue, you may be depressed if, for more than two weeks, you’ve felt sad, down or miserable most of the time, or have lost interest or pleasure in usual activities, and have also experienced several of the signs and symptoms across at least three of the categories below.

It’s important to remember that we all experience some of these symptoms from time to time, and it may not necessarily mean you’re depressed. Equally, not everyone who is experiencing depression will have all of these symptoms.

Behaviour

  • not going out anymore
  • not getting things done at work/school
  • withdrawing from close family and friends
  • relying on alcohol and sedatives
  • not doing usual enjoyable activities
  • unable to concentrate

Feelings

  • overwhelmed
  • guilty
  • irritable
  • frustrated
  • lacking in confidence
  • unhappy
  • indecisive
  • disappointed
  • miserable
  • sad

Thoughts

  • ‘I’m a failure.’
  • ‘It’s my fault.’
  • ‘Nothing good ever happens to me.’
  • ‘I’m worthless.’
  • ‘Life’s not worth living.’
  • ‘People would be better off without me.’

Physical

  • tired all the time
  • sick and run down
  • headaches and muscle pains
  • churning gut
  • sleep problems
  • loss or change of appetite
  • significant weight loss or gain

What you can do if you know someone experiencing depression

People suffer in silence because they fear ridicule. They are afraid of losing their jobs, their friends and their dignity. If you don’t truly understand what depression is then you’re one of the lucky ones. Yet someone you know is experiencing this right now. It is a serious illness and should anyone confide in you; please offer your full help and support. You could literally save their life.

Have you ever been depressed or know someone who is living with this illness?

  1. Chris  

    Even in this day and age, where mental illness such as depression, is somewhat accepted as fact – it is still very difficult to say ‘I am depressed.’ ‘I suffer from depression.’ I think this is especially true of older people. I know that I feel shame; I feel like a weak person. I cant come to terms with the fact that I suffer from depression. The best way I can help myself is a self imposed exile – where I dont have to deal with all the ups and downs of mainstream life. The less I know of the ‘outside world’ the better. My window to the world is the internet and Facebook and the groups I am in. Mostly, I hover in the back ground of the groups – unless I can express a feeling or thought knowing that there wouldnt be any backlash. Sometimes, I type what I think and never look back at the comments because I know I have stirred a hornets nest. Mostly though, the groups have helped me to see that there are a lot of like minded people out there and part of me wants to get back out and ‘mingle’.

    • Wiso  

      I know exactly how you feel Chris. Even though I have a great treatment regime and cope well most of the time, as I get older, I still have periods where I also cope best by excluding myself from the physical world for short periods of time.

      If you are not currently on a treatment plan, then I would strongly encourage you to talk to your GP about it. It made the world of difference to my life.

  2. Randy  

    I have suffered from depression for years, no decades. Today I’m on a regimen of medication that works wonderfully. I had a psychiatrist who was able to prescribe a combination of medicines that together keep my depression at bay. I have been on this regimen for years. Thank goodness for the insight of my psychiatrist.

  3. Khris  

    With the recent comments from former PM Tony Rabbit, shows just how pig ignorant he is!
    Curious to see how that silly cow who was his PA, tries to defend that statement!

  4. Susan Knowles  

    Tony Abbott should be made to read this, after complaining that people with “bad backs and a bit of depression and so on” are given disability benefits. He is a man with no compassion.

    • Wiso  

      I have suffered from depression for most of my life but with medication and management I have also been a very effective member of society and achieved much in my life, and at no stage have I ever considered myself disabled, so yes, Tony Abbott is correct when he says that depression is not a permanent condition for a disability pension. For a short time when treatment is being stabilised it may be necessary for some financial assistance in the form of an allowance, but to be put on a permanent disability pension is ridiculous. If someone suffering depression is not willing to accept help to treat it then they do not deserve welfare. It does not have to be a serious disability unless you want it to be.

  5. Jack  

    Never had a depressed day in my life and can’t understand why people allow themselves to
    believe they have depression. Is it just a crutch for those who have been failures in life? It seems
    to me that it could be laziness or weak moral fibre that make people believe they are ‘depressed’.
    It amazes me that our Governments are so easily conned into supporting these people with welfare
    benefits and hugely increasing the incomes of the parasitical medical ‘professionals’ egging on this
    fallacy.

    • Chris  

      You horrible, horrible man. You have no compassion or empathy – and absolutely no idea what can bring a person down in life.

      • Guy Flavell  

        Well said Chris … truly a horrible, thoughtless man. Let’s all depress him with our comments.

    • Judith Coombs  

      Jack you are very lucky not to have personally suffered from a mental illness but unfortunately you do suffer from a serious case of ignorance and pig-headedness,and no amount of scientific or medical knowledge would ever convince you that mental illness is every bit as real as phsical illness. I hope that no-one close to you ever suffers from depression or any other mental illness as they would not be able to count on support from you which is so important to sufferers of mental illness. Family support can make the difference between life and death for people who face life with these illnesses and they are real and are not often understood because the symptoms don’t often include blood and gore unless they have reached stages where self harm have become part of the illness. I know because I am a sufferer and I also have several serious physical illnesses that are life threatening. If I had to choose which illness I could get rid of I would rid myself of depression as it is the most debillitating and painful. It is also the most misunderstood by the people in society like you. It does exist. I knwo because i live with it 24 hours a day 7 days a week. It may kill me, so may my heart condition or one of the other chronic conditions I suffer from, but depression is the one I am most likely to die from because the pan fromit is the worst to endure and made even harder to endure by ignorance within society from people like you. Get the facts. Do some research.Develop some empathy. Wak in the shoes of people who live with depression and think about their lives and how they ahve to cope and how they could not survive without a compassionate Government that does acknowledge their struggle by offering them a litle support. Get over your own ignorance before you sstart to preach from a point of ignorance and make an idiot of yourself again Jack. COntact an organisation like Beyond Blue and find out the facts!

      • Guy Flavell  

        Judith, I think perhaps Jack may have been having a lend of you all. I would be VERY surprised
        if he actually believed those comments he made ? Depression is just too common and widespread to be the “fallacy” he described.

    • Ruby Tuesday  

      Jack, what an ignorant piece of work you are.
      Depression is a very real and debilitating disease. Fortunately, help is available for sufferers.
      Unfortunately for you, nobody has yet been able to transplant a brain into a statue so you will have to continue to live in blissful ignorance of how people live in the real world.

  6. Joan Marshall  

    I think everyone feels sad at sometime or another particularly the way the world operates now. I reached the depth of sadness when I left my husband but… Had I stayed with him for the sake of the children I would be a wreck today and my children would have fallen in to the hands of people who could not give them a Mother’s love. I loved my sons guided them educated them made many sacrifices for them was a shrew from time to time. My greatest achievement is them and working very hard to have the comforts I now have. I strongly believed in a God that created me asked for his help and he never let me down. I am blessed with a very strong mind. When a disaster happens you either go under or you become stronger. At 71 I finally found Peace with God’s help and self development which should be taught in schools.

  7. Janet  

    I have suffered depression for the last 35 years on and off, and its not something that can be switched on and off..you can wake up one morning and its just there… or it can creep up on you… so many different scenarios..some episodes are worse than others…..definitely not something you can snap out of….. Can’t take the depression prescriptions though, can’t take how they make you want to sleep all the time so I switched to St Johns Wort, a natural anti-depressant from health shops…it levels me out, doesn’t give me highs but I don’t get the deep lows either, if I start getting lower I up the dosage for a while, maybe not perfect but heaps better than sleeping the days away…..

  8. Brendan Grainger  

    It is strange that I didn’t even know I was depressed, and had been for years, until a friend told me and encouraged me to see a doctor about it. I see the Psychiatrist monthly, and take medication daily … I am still depressed, but at least I now know that I am depressed.

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