The Importance of Telling Your Story: Depression

DISCLAIMER: So, heads up, this video was going to suck a lot less UNTIL I dropped my phone into a vat of soap and grease at work and lost my background video and commentary.

Also BOTH my “professional sources” never emailed me back/couldn’t make it. So shame on me for procrastination nation, and shame on fast food for just being a horrendous working environment in general. Moving on.

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 1.42.52 PM
what comes up when you search “depression clipart.” helping the stigma. much?

Depression. There is a stigma behind it. You’ve seen the memes showing a dark shadow following you around, or the images of cuts across wrists and mascara running down faces. But is that what depression really is?

Apparently not. Actually, depression is lurking in corners of things we may think are quite ordinary. According to this article, entitled 5 Uncommon Signs of Depression, some normal, but often overlooked signs are:

  1. Rapid weight change- suppressed or lessened appetite in a society where “have you lost weight?” is usually a compliment.
  2. Short temper- although commonly paired with moping and sadness, being easily irritated and snappy with others can be a sign of depression as well.
  3. Boredom- loss of interest in passions is a well-known sign, but this can come off as just boredom. Simple, low-demand activities (naps, Netflix, internet) become more frequent.
  4. Psychosomatic aches and pains- random pains and aching that were not present before may appear. Sometimes, your body knows you’re hurting before you do. Cliché, but true.
  5. Trouble making decisions- Don’t panic. Not knowing what major to declare or what country to study abroad in is NOT a sign of depression. Panic and trouble making basic decisions, like what to eat for dinner or what tv show to watch, are.
imgres.jpg
yet another deep, dark, “depression” photo

“Most people don’t even realize there’s a problem,” says Megan Miller, Cal Poly student. Her statement coincides with statistics: over 50% of people with depression will go undiagnosed or never seek treatment. Whether this is due to the negative stigma behind depression or the broad diagnostic attributes, professionals are unsure.

Psychology major, Jake Clark, is aware of the negative stigma behind depression. “People think that people with mental illness are crazy, or that they’re unfit for society,” says Clark.

Many have blamed this stigma on the court system and criminals pleading “insanity” for their actions. However, an article by Washington Post easily lays this to rest, saying that less than 1% of criminals are granted an insanity plea, and even less are let off and set completely free.

Psychology Today, wonderful website that it is, outlines a very important but little talked about fact: Depression is Different for Everyone.  It also tends to be a self-fufilling prophecy: people with mental illness, especially depression (and addiction) fear pushing away those closest to them, so they end up alienating themselves. They fear never having a normal relationship, so they don’t try. This constant cycle of being alone because they fear being alone only intensifies and confirms their fears…because they create them.

As a society, we’ve been brainwashed by tv shows, media, etc. We think all schizophrenics are in the corner talking to themselves or planning murder. We think all sociopaths are Dexter Morgan. We think all depressives are on the edge of a cliff, when frankly, this is the furthest thing from the truth.

At the end of the day, everyone around you has SOMETHING. If their not depressed, maybe they know or love someone who is. If nothing else, glean from this article that:

In the midst of all the bullshit and us battling each other, each one of us is battling ourselves. Be gentle. Be kind. Be human.

Advertisements

25 thoughts on “The Importance of Telling Your Story: Depression

  1. I’m really confused that you wrote this article, which was compassionate, kind and thoughtful, compared to your most recent post about everyone being a crybaby. I’m not criticizing you but I am just confused.. Seems like you understand that others’ challenges are valid but you also undermine them and call them crybabies. I don’t know, just something to think about..

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Valid point, Brittany, but I feel the two are unrelated. This article talks about the stigma behind depression, a very real disease, and a valid reason to seek support and assistance. The Crybaby article focuses on an entire generation CREATING problems for themselves because they feel entitled and “special.” People with genuine depression do not create it for themselves, nor do they go around starting arguments and seeking pity for it. Generation Crybaby creates drama, and then wants recompense for “harms suffered” when they are who created the harm. Hope this clears things up.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Thank you for your response to Brittany, Rachel. It helped clear some things up for me as well. When I had read the Crybaby article, I was a bit off-put by the being offended part, but now I am going to assume you meant being offended by trivial issues, such as as you referenced, getting a grade you don’t agree with, etc which I can understand.

        But I do think when it comes to important topics like mental health, we can’t afford to be flippant about it and, in a way, not be offended by misrepresentations. It’s not about being politically correct here, but rather not reinforcing the stigmas surrounding depression, anxiety, etc. Otherwise, we’re left with people who think depression is something you can turn on and turn off, that OCD is only about people being super organized, that having a day where you’re feeling a million different emotions means you’re bipolar, and so forth and so on.

        That’s not to say I think everyone who makes a joke about mental illness (and I’m sure we have all been guilty of it at some point) is intending it to be harmful. And yet, it can be.

        I’m not really sure at this point it should be okay with society when, with all of the research and knowledge we have today, for the media and different mediums of TV and movies to keep getting these representations wrong and not question it.

        So….yeah. I guess what I am saying is thanks for writing this.

        Like

      2. I agree with the original comment. Who are you to know and decide that they are “creating problems for themselves because they feel entitled and ‘special'”. How do you know that their complaints are not legitimate. Who are you to know what they may be going through (such as depression). You continue to make sweeping generalizations about millennials as well as those suffering with depression, without making multiple examples. “They do this and they do that” just sounds like an uneducated opinion (to which you are entitled).

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Rachel, YOU are a fucking cry baby. Go cry about how you’re so depressed that you can attend a college class and ignore everything that is being taught to bitch on the internet. Go cry about how you’re so depressed that you’re attending college, and don’t even have a fucking job. Let me guess, mommy and daddy are paying for everything? You are not depressed, you’re simply full of shit.

        Like

      4. Rachel I don’t know what kind of person you are, and despite your clarification I still remain confused. There are people who would actually call people who have depression names similar to “crybaby.” People who create drama for themselves have always been very broken in my experience. You gained quite an audience and fan base and many of those have used a plethora of derogatory words to describe people who are in their opinion too sensitive. One person even basically called kids no more than animals. I believe parents are there to coach their kids in terms of handling their emotions. This excludes telling kids that they suck or that they are crybabies or that they are pussies. It also excludes doing anything possible to avoid the child experiencing uncomfortable emotions. It includes helping them to understand what they are feeling and why, and helping them to process it and have healthy boundaries. Did you intend to encourage people who are abusive bullies? Did you intend to discourage people who struggle to stand up for themselves from doing so? Your words have so much power, and they do unseen things that you could never imagine. You can use it to build people up or to tear them down. When you build up the bullies and tear down the ones who are bullied the overall result is destruction. If your message is really just about entitlement complexes it certainly did not just come across that way. It’s fair to speak to entitlement complexes but I think it’s possible to do so without handing another victory to bullies while at the same time dealing another blow to the bullied. If the bullied are to stand up for themselves they need people to champion them in that, because their entire lives they have believed that it’s a bad idea to stand up for themselves. This is often because of pain that’s been inflicted on them by a stronger person every time that they tried to stand up for themselves. If you take depression seriously, please also take the other internal struggles that people have seriously. Choose your words wisely so that the power that goes with them does more good than it does harm.

        Like

      5. Getting irritated at something in person, and then going off to complain about it online is a very millennial thing to do. 🙂

        As far as the crybaby thing…intent means everything. If someone says something to hurt or dehumanize someone, well, they’re jerks and I’ve no problem calling them out on it.

        On the other side, if someone’s being a crybaby for every stupid thing, well, derailing conversations and redirecting them to oneself is frankly narcissism. If ya constantly do that, you can talk to the hand.

        Oh, and trigger warnings. FFS, people. Exposure to ‘difficult things’ is the recommended therapy for dealing with those things. And if it’s too awful, stop f’ing reading. Anyone capable of reading is capable of determining if said text is veering towards an uncomfortable topic.

        Like

    2. Oh, thank you for this comment! I snorted laughing when I read the obnoxious rant about millennials only then to see this article about mental health awareness … which she mocked in her prior article? … and then the end SLAYED me. “be kind. be gentle. be human.”

      maybe try being self-aware first?

      Like

  2. Dear Rachel,

    I recently became a fan of yours after reading your FUCKIN AWESOME article about these whiny little faggots called “millennials,” and I thought for sure that I had met my literary soulmate, and not some cock sucking, fudge packer like the typical white liberal author, but then I stumbled upon this article, and now I am profoundly confused!

    This article sounds EXACTLY like what one of those whiny little insignificant cry babies would write as an EXCUSE for why they are FAILING at life. Like, depression is a fuckin joke. All these people who are “depressed” are clearly just unhappy with their micropenises, backne, and COMPLETE LACK OF MANLINESS because they aren’t getting laid and making $$! Don’t make excuses for them! You sound like an enabler. If a kid wants to kill himself, I say, DO IT! Pussy! Anyone who would even THINK of killing himself is a beta faggot and doesn’t deserve to breathe the same air as people like us.

    Why would you write something like this? I am sincerely disappointed in you. You had potential to be great. Please don’t ever write anything this fuckin sensitive and whiny again.

    Sincerely your biggest fan,

    Dan

    Like

    1. Maybe because this and the Crybaby article are unrelated. You sound like a unhappy guy whose been rejected by countless of women/men because of your ignorance (I hate using that word) and instead of educating yourself, you blame everyone else thinking you’re this ideal man. Mental illnesses are real, all you have to do is a simple google search and i pity you for believing that. I’m glad the author wrote this and the crybaby article, they don’t contradict each other at all. By the way, Your words didn’t offend me, it shocked me to know that people still think like that but it’s your opinion and I’m glad you have the ability to voice it.

      Like

    2. Dan I suspect that you have some deep and unresolved issues yourself. People can only love others as much as they love themselves, and you just demonstrated a hefty dose of hate. I hope that you’ll find ways to be kinder to yourself so that you can in turn be kinder to other people.

      Like

  3. I read this after reading your article about milennials and I do not think it is contradictory at all. Depression is a mental illness that oftentimes, people try to hide because they are ashamed of it. It can ruin lives and sometimes even drives people to commit suicide because the disease that is depression makes them feel like there is no hope in the world. “Special snowflakes” on the other hand tend to wear their self-diagnosed “mental illness” like a badge of honor so they can get attention. There is a huge difference between a person who suffers from depression and a “whiny crybaby” who thinks he or she is special. Thanks for writing this, it is an important topic that I really care about.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Own your shit. ….suicide is a choice….go get help start reading… oops whatever it takes just move in the right ..I would like to talk about the flip side living with someone with depression…..it’s hell changes your outlook on life….one has enough energy when one is depressed to fight the fight I feel bad for those who are depressed I feel worse if you live with someone depressed……DENIAL….creates pain

    Like

    1. Eali I have had depression and have lived with someone who has depression. I understand the frustration you express, but unless you’ve experienced long-term depression yourself please don’t make statements like “one has enough energy when one is depressed to fight the fight.” I am personally connected to 3 suicides through family and marriage, along with multiple attempts. People who commit suicide make a choice, yes. But that choice is because they feel it is the better alternative to living a life with deep, immense pain and sadness that has not gone away and that they believe will never go away. What is more helpful is expressing love and support rather than judgement, because the judgement will only drive them deeper in to depression and might even be the difference between another day and suicide.

      Like

    2. Hmm, one of the diagnostic criteria for a major depressive disorder is “reduced energy” (ICD-10), and depressive disorder may affect one’s ability to make rational choices.

      That would imply people have possibly not enough energy to fight to fight, nor good choices about suicide.

      Two things are choices, however. Using punctuation…and trolling out of boredom. That’s likely a symptom of antisocial personality disorder…

      ICD-10 – “Callous unconcern for the feelings of others,” etc.

      I recommend, if you have enough energy, to fight the good fight and seek professional assistance.

      Like

    3. Agreed, suicide is a choice. However, it is not a choice taken lightly by anyone with clinical depression, major depressive disorder or either of those combined with an anxiety disorder. I am 48 and have “dealt” with depression since I was 16, which, by the way, was my first suicide attempt. There are two types of “suicidal” people. Those who want attention, and those who have had all the pain they can handle. Most people in the second category do not fail at suicide.
      Suicide enters my mind every day at least 2 to 5 times a day. Do I work? Yes. Am I in college? Yes. Do I have children? Yes. Yes, I am on an antidepressant and I also take anxiety medication after being agoraphobic for 2 years….this was due to the fact that at the age of 38 I found my own way to “deal” with depression and became addicted to Vicodin for 7 years. Little did I know that once that part of my life ended, I would learn what anxiety actually meant (the fear of the everything and the fear of nothing).

      My point here is this. Truly depressed, suicidal people get to a point where this is what happens. Think of the very worst day in your life, the day that you were the saddest, most miserable person for whatever reason. Once you have that day in your mind, put a wall up and KNOW in your heart that you will NEVER feel any better than you do at that moment. That is when suicide takes place. And, for anyone to say that it is a selfish act, there is great controversy on that. But, my thoughts about that are that, having been suicidal myself for so long, my thoughts are of my kids and my parents, but they are “if I was gone, my kids and parents would no longer have to watch me suffer so much in battling this disease and I could finally rest”. And I say battle, because 32 years of depression and still being alive to write this has been a hourly and daily battle that I still hope to win one day.

      Yes, I am in college majoring in Psychology and Substance Abuse.

      Like

  5. I have ( as have many I know ) experienced
    depression. I did time in psych programs as a kid.
    Just a share: The worst depressions I have ever felt are not tearful events. There is no cutting my wrists, or wanting to die.
    There is just hopelessness. A void. The inability to communicate it with anyone.
    Emptiness. The wondering: ” what’s the point? Why are people even existent? ”
    The lack of ability to relate to the joys, or purpose you see in others, because you are unable to feel it- at all. I often have thought, when in this state ( doesn’t happen often – thank goodness )- ” everyone looks like walking skeletons- are they all dead? Is life an illusion? ”
    It is a period in a vacuum — and at times, you wish you could cry or talk and get it over with. But it won’t let you.
    It’s horrible- and debilitating.
    I had a lover walk out on me because she couldn’t get me to talk. I stayed that way for three weeks. Inside, she mattered- outwardly- I could not muster the ability to show her that. At all.
    When I see someone cry because they are sad, I tell them ” you’re lucky- cry — you need it”
    I would not wish the other- dry, dead, listless, near psychotic in an illusion of death, feeling that existence is just an illusion- on anyone.

    Like

    1. Jason, you described depression very well. One thing my mother said to me once is that (and this was about 15 years ago…I am now 48) “I have never seen you truly happy”. I watch people all the time and wonder, “How do you do it? How do you find a way to laugh and carry on as though the world is a good place to be?”. And right afterwards I think, “God, I wish I could be like that for just one day.”

      For me, it is the guilt as well. Especially for my boys who are now 19 and 24 and my parents who are in their 70’s. Because they have to see it. My 19 year old lives with me because he worries about me. That’s not what I want for him! I want him to go be 19 and start a life of wonderful things, but he won’t ever do that unless he thinks I will be okay. The guilt I have for just that one thing is overwhelming. I am also still slightly agoraphobic, so I don’t go out and see my parents like I should. I think about it almost every day, but do I go, no. Because I am safe and calm in my own home. There is a catch 22 there though. Because those days when I do go out to see my mom and dad, those are my better days! But, my mind will not allow me to think like that or act upon it.

      I agree, I rarely cry, and I am female. I am so afraid sometimes to cry because I actually think that if I start I may never stop. And there is really not that much wrong in my life! Like most depressed people, life is not that bad if you look at it from the outside. But inside, I die a little more each day.

      Like

  6. This is a great article Rachel!

    I like most others came to read this after reading your millennials article and for the record I don’t see them as contradictory because they are dealing with two separate issues (albeit issues which could arguable be listed on the similar scale) . What the two articles do show is the depth of thought you have shown on the topic and your versatility to write about two separate issues which lie on a similar scale at opposite ends.

    I have recently had to deal with a client of mine deciding to try and commit suicide due to severe depression (thankfully they didn’t succeed). The only cues we really had was that the person became reclusive and erratic behaviour, but for the most part it was hidden from everyone, including their family.

    I agree we have to stop seeing mental illness as a “stigma” and more of something in which we should actively be working together to provide a supportive and positive environment where people can seek help without feeling they are going to be judged or seen as weak.

    There was a really good reddit thread last week on Mental Illness that is worth a look:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/3ukp0f/serious_psychiatristspsychologists_of_reddit_what/

    They are talking about some of the most profound/insightful things people with mental illness have said.

    Like

  7. As a cognitive science major and someone diagnosed with one of the more serious mental illnesses I think your writing kicks ass. if you ever need someone diagnosed with mental illness to give you some insight for research let me know.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s