Depression Hurts. I see it everyday, not only with patients at the clinic I work at, but in my own life too. I have always found it hard to describe Depression, not only because the stigma associated with it makes it difficult to discuss, but because it is very hard to describe Depression when it so often written off as being Sad. That is why when I saw this quote from the author J.K. Rowling I had to post it. Her words sum up my feelings on Depression completely.
When I was growing up, and even up until 5 years ago, Depression was a taboo topic. People didn’t want to talk about Depression, either because they associated Depression with being “crazy” or they didn’t see it as a legitimate medical illness. I had a friend once who said he didn’t believe in mental illness, that it was just a trick of the mind. A classmate of mine actually laughed through a suicide scene in a movie we watched–she thought it was hilarious that the main character was climbing up and down the side of a bridge, debating whether he should live or succumb to his depression and end his life. And they have the nerve to call people with mental illness crazy? Plleeaaassseee.
Mental Illness is exactly what it spells out-an illness. My supervisor at the clinic summed it up perfectly. “If we can treat Diabetes and Heart Disease with therapy, then how is Depression any different?”. After hearing that, it was like my heart and mind just gave one big sigh of relief. Yes, it is ok to have depression. It is an illness. And just like any other illness, it can be treated and it can be cured.
I am glad that today so much more attention is being brought to depression and other forms of mental illness. The Canadian website http://www.DepressionHurts.ca is a great resource site for people who think they may have Depression. Not only does it help you understand the signs and symptoms, but it encourages you to be more compassionate with yourself and speak to your Family Physician about your concerns. It has really helped me get through my own depression and stay on the road to recovery.
So if there’s one thing you can take away from this post, please let it be this-Depression is OK. Do not be ashamed. Do not hide it from your friends or your family. Talk to your physician about it. In this illness, you are never alone and you can get better. Both J.K.Rowling and I are living proof 😉
I’ll leave you with the last bit of the quote I posted above, of which I have often turned to during the darkest moments of my own illness.
On the days when I felt I had no where or no one to turn to, this quote gave me strength and compassion and peace to open up to myself and to my loved ones, and then go get the professional help that I deserved. I hope it helps you too.