Whether you have dealt with some of life’s knockbacks or know of someone who has, you will understand that depression does not discriminate.
It can hit you like a tonne of bricks for no reason or slowly creep in when you are going through a tough time. Regardless of the even, some 300 million worldwide are affected (World Health Organisation statistics). Despite this, many myths surround the condition, most of which are rather unhelpful.
Counsellor and author, Lynn Crilly:
“It’s a deep-rooted, debilitating and destructive mental illness that affects both the sufferers and their carers alike. ‘Facts’ are often quoted about depression that are myths, which can prevent people from getting to grips with and being able to understand depression.”
Here are our top five misconceptions about depression:
It is obvious when a person has depression
Not true. Many if not most with depression, hide it, or try their best to. A person may become so good at concealing how they feel to such an extent that only the most alerted loved ones can see what truly hides behind the smiles. And this is where knowing a person well and knowing the difference between what is normal for them is vital. If they start to display out of character behaviours such as recklessness, staying up more/sleeping less, or changes to their eating habits, dig deeper to see if depression or another mental illness could be the cause.
The only treatment is antidepressants
Some see antidepressant medication as something to be feared and avoided due to side-effects and the potential to lead to addiction. Of course, these concerns shouldn’t be ignored, but it shouldn’t put a person off seeking medical help for their mental health.
Lyn Crilly says the best person to advise on medication is your medical practitioner. However, this is not to say that all responsibility should be handed to them; the patient and those around them should have input where appropriate.
Medication is only one line of treatment, and it not always the first nor always required. Talking therapies such as counselling, Hypnotherapy, CBT, and can be very effective treatments.
It affects mainly women
While the number of women known to be suffering from depression is higher than men, we also know that men are much less likely to seek support for their symptoms than their counterparts.
The most shocking fact is the most significant cause of death among men under 50 is suicide. This clearly shows that men are suffering and they too need to be right at the centre of mental health conversations.
The myth that “real men don’t get depression” must also stop. Far too many still believe mental illness is a sign of weakness, making it even more dangerous for both genders.
The taboo no longer exists
There’s no mistaking that mental health recognition has come a long way. Celebrities and Royal family members continue to campaign to break the stigma and change how we view those with mental health. Suddenly society became flooded with awareness and the conditions placed firmly under the spotlight. A real shift seems to have occurred; however, the battle is not over yet.
People are still wary of admitting mental ill health for fear of judgement, exclusion and potential career risks. There are still plenty of misconceptions of what having and living with a mental illness is truly like.
You cannot help those with depression
Granted you can’t wave a wand and make depression disappear, but you can support someone with a mental health condition. Showing acceptance, understanding and compassion can make their journey easier to bear. Should they wish, you could aid them at appointments or accompany them during errands. Sometimes people just need a friendly face to be with them. These may seem like trivial activities, but they can make a huge difference.
Professionals such as employers and teachers can play an important role in ensuring mental ill-health is treated the same as any physical illness.
For information on we can support your mental health please contact us today on 01803 500300.