Depression is one of the most stigmatized mental health conditions. There are many misconceptions and myths about Depression. Many think that it’s just feelings of sadness and something one chooses to stay in a state of. The reality is that many who suffer from the condition are suffering from a severe medical condition that biological and environmental factors can cause.
Common Misconceptions, Stigmas, and Inaccurate Beliefs of Depression:
Below are some common but inaccurate beliefs about Depression. Unfortunately, expressing these types of statements can further feelings of shame and judgment in those living with Depression rather than showing empathy and compassion. By perpetuating misconceptions, we risk invalidating others’ actual experiences of mental illness.
Before exploring some of these commonly held yet misguided views, it’s essential to define a few key terms:
Misconception: A misconception refers to an idea or a belief that is incorrect or false. The views listed here are considered misconceptions because they contradict what medical research tells us about Depression.
Stigma: A stigma involves a negative stereotype or perception unfairly attached to something, like a disease. Stigmas surrounding Depression include feelings of shame, weakness, or the idea that a person is somehow at fault for their condition. Expressing stigmatizing views can make those living with Depression feel judged and blamed or that they should be able to control or overcome their illness through willpower alone.
Let’s explore some common, misguided attitudes regarding Depression, shall we? This article aims to promote greater understanding and empathy for those experiencing this mental illness.
“It’s just feelings of sadness.” – While sadness may be present, Depression involves much more than just sadness. Clinical Depression affects how a person functions daily and can include:
- A lack of interest in previously enjoyable activities.
- Physical symptoms like change in appetite or sleep.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Feelings of hopelessness.
“Snap out of it!” – This statement is a complete dismissal of Depression as an actual medical condition with very real executive functioning and physical symptoms. Saying this statement ignores how profoundly this illness can impact someone’s ability to work, care for themselves, and complete everyday tasks. It also overlooks the evidence that Depression has biological and neurological factors, not just situational causes.
“Only young people get depressed, and they just need to grow up.”— This stigma could not be further from the truth. Depression affects people of all ages, from children to older adults. Clinical Depression is not a sign of immaturity or a choice. Depression is one of the most common mental health issues affecting both adolescents and the respected generation. Dismissing Depression as only impacting youth denies the experiences of people across the lifespan. It promotes the harmful myth that Depression in certain age groups is somehow less valid or severe.
“Some believe depression only affects ‘weak’ people.” – While some may see Depression as implying weakness or a lack of resilience, the reality is Depression has nothing to do with one’s strength of character, willpower, or competence. Countless or well-functioning, high-achieving individuals secretly battle Depression daily, hiding their symptoms due to the stigma of being perceived as “weak.” Battling Depression requires immense inner strength, and reducing one’s condition to an indication of weakness denies lived experiences and prevents open discussions of mental health challenges.
“Depression is just another way to say you’re faithless.” – Depression is a medical illness, not a moral or spiritual failing. Implying those with Depression need to pray or believe more invalidates the physical, biological, & neurological causes of Depression. Having faith or spirituality does not protect someone from developing Depression. This illness affects people globally across various religions and backgrounds.
“People with depression are just crazy.”— Identifying someone struggling with Depression as “crazy” suggests that they are dangerous or unstable and should be feared rather than supported. Psychosis is rare with Depression and affects less than 15% of those diagnosed. For most, Depression involves cognitive/mood symptoms like lack of interest, low energy, and worthlessness that make daily tasks exhausting to complete. It also discourages seeking help due to fears of being labeled in such a hurtful, invalidating way, causing individuals to successfully hide their Depression every day out of concern that they will be perceived as “crazy” rather than respected, hard-working colleagues, friends, & family members.
Changing the way we frame and discuss Depression from one of stigma to one of compassion is crucial to those who struggle with this serious medical condition, which affects millions of people from all walks of life. When a loved one is struggling, choose empathy over judgment. Seek to understand rather than make assumptions and empower them to seek the help that they are in serious need of.
Depression Treatment In Greater Atlanta Area
If you or someone you care about is experiencing prolonged feelings of sadness, hopelessness, fatigue, changes in appetite or sleep, and are struggling to complete daily tasks, those are very real signs that one may be struggling with Depression. The counselors at Atlanta Specialized Care are experienced professionals dedicated to treating Depression with evidence-based therapies and medication management, if needed, with two convenient locations in the greater Atlanta area, in Dunwoody and Alpharetta.
Reaching out for assistance shows incredible strength, not weakness. Prioritizing mental wellness is as vital as physical health, as mental health is tied to physical health. Call Atlanta Specialized Care today at (770) 815-6853. Don’t battle Depression alone; support and treatments are available, and there is hope for living well!