The stigma of depression is nearly as difficult as the disease itself. It a topic that brings silence to a group, averted eyes, lowered heads and shuffling feet. Denial is rampant that the disease is stigmatized but research indicates that the opposite is true.
Depression is a mental health issue , a no fault illness which can seriously impede the life of the sufferer. It can strike any gender race or creed. There are no class barriers and no favorites. It is an insidious illness and affects the physical, mental and spiritual areas of life. One out of five people will experience depression at some time in their life.
It can immobilize, demotivate and cripple the mind within a short time frame. The duration of the illness is not time specific. The symptoms vary from person to person, some experiencing short term illness while for others it can remain for years. The recovery process is still a mystery in the psychiatric world, some recovering rapidly and others showing little recovery. Many factors are attributed to this, response to medication, support from family and friends, the type of depression and the personality of the person.
Where oh where did the stigma come from? It comes from us- you and me-people not familiar with the illness and not educated about the effects of depression on one’s life Ill informed people not accepting and understanding that the suffered cannot just pull himself together and get on with it. It arises from the fact that people believe depression is the outcome of a fragile mind. People believe that depression is shameful and should be hidden. In many cases the family of the patient are the biggest culprits. Henceforth the illness becomes mysterious, illusive, non specific and stigmatized.
The stigma of the disease is a separate issue but combined with the depression intensifies the symptoms and impedes the recovery process. The patient is loathe to discuss the illness keeping it hidden and yes stigmatized. The vicious cycle is ongoing, with bouts of depressions, hiding the disease and deepening the stigma.
To curtail and impede the growth of the stigma there needs to be more openness and honesty. Education needs to start at a young age to ensure that the next generation’s perception of the disease improves. Early intervention to help the patient and family would be of great benefit, so that people are aware of what is happening as it evolves.
Treating the people with depression as one of the community and not as an outcast would be a leap forward in the right direction. Active listening to people and maybe reaching out the hand of friendship would set example for others. A community of inclusion rather than exclusion would dictate that all members of society would interact as equals and this would benefit everyone-educating the general public and supporting the people with depression.
Forget National Forums and Reviews on Depression–to de-stigmatise the illness, it must start with us as individual and the ripple effect will infiltrate all society. To take these step is relatively easy, include, listen ,involve educate help and support. These are very same tools that are used in life for any type of difficult. We use them in our daily activity unaware of our action. With a conscious effort to act in a similar manner to those with depression, we will succeed and de-stigmatise depression.
You can live a fulfilled life.
You can recover from Depression.
Therapy and medication can alleviate depression and you can overcome the stigma. At the end of the day it your decision. You can make the choice to overcome the disease to the best of you ability. You can live your life or you can allow depression to control your life.
You can overcome Depression:
There are several self help tools available to assist in recovery fro depression. There are self help groups such as AWARE and GROW which can help you to cope with everyday living.In every town and city you can call toll free to trained volunteers that will listen to you at any time. You are never alone.
The disease of depression can interrupt the life of the patient and the family. Complicating the depression is the stigma associated with the illness Trying to live and cope with the stigma can be gut wrenching and traumatic.It no longer concerns me what other people think or how they perceive me.This makes life with depression easier.