“I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel all alone.”
One of the most extraordinary actors of our time committed suicide due to severe depression. More than 34,000 deaths per year are reported in the U.S. due to untreated depression, which is in fact, a real illness. Too often, people are ashamed to seek help as they might be perceived as weak. We do not ignore those with MS, heart disease or any other illness so why ignore a complex medical disorder that has psychological, biological and social dimensions?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), there is an overwhelming sadness felt by those suffering from depression. Anxiety accompanies and accelerates this sadness, whereby one is left to constantly feel sad for no apparent reason at all. It’s simply an emptiness that resides within for no explicable reason whatsoever.
Below you’ll find some common myths about depression:
1 – It’s just a case of the blues
In actuality, there is a significant difference between everyday blues and clinical depression. Depression can be triggered by any traumatic event and last for days, weeks or even years. This is not something that a night on the town or love and support of friends and family can make disappear. It requires treatment and medication.
2 – There is a medical test to diagnose depression
Unlike blood tests, scans, etc., there is no test to effectively diagnose whether one has depression. A trained professional would need to speak to the individual by interviewing them to obtain if the symptoms are that of clinical depression.
3 – It’s not good to talk about feeling depressed
Some people feel that talking about depression is constantly complaining about their life and many would wonder why someone who appears to ‘have it all’ could possibly be depressed. The truth is, regardless of what one has, the love they are surrounded by or how happy they appear to be, they could be completely alone and in the dark.
In addition to speaking with your loved ones so they understand your mood swings, lack of participation and overall disconnect it’s best to seek a therapist to better understand the root cause and solve the issue.
4 – Depression is always situational
While it’s true that a major life event such as a loss of a loved one or a divorce can trigger sadness, the underlying cause of depression is not necessarily due to any particular event. The diagnosis can occur within days or weeks of one who is feeling lethargic, sad, empty and utterly hopeless.
We must realize the seriousness of this illness and help those around us who are in a dark place. The smiles may hide the pain however, how much one is suffering while internalizing their loneliness, sadness and emptiness should prompt us to support them before they feel it’s too late and give up.
I now question, if Robin Williams had seen the emotional outpour of condolences, support and overall sadness that I see reflected throughout all media including my Facebook page, would it have made a difference, knowing he was so loved and respected? I sit here and ponder how people can’t empathize with those that suffer this horrible disease, which can sometimes be fatal. Just because we are smiling on the outside, doesn’t mean we may not be crying on the inside.
Screenshot via CBS
By Mademoiselle Wanderlust, a regular contributor to the Markets Media Life section.