There’s no question about it, admitting you are struggling with depression is a hard thing to do. Even after all the highly publicized struggles of depression by beloved celebrities like Jon Hamm, Ashley Judd, or Owen Wilson, there is still such a stigma regarding those who struggle with depression.
The stigma of depression is mostly due to the negative nature of the illness which makes those battling depression seem unattractive and unreliable, especially in most Christian circles. I get why so many are afraid to admit they are experencing depression — but you are not alone.
I am one of those people.
I haven’t been ready to admit what I am experiencing is depression.
Depression lies to you and you feel like you are all alone. I have suffered in silence for far too long, thinking I was hiding and protecting those I loved when it was obvious to those who loved me the most something wasn’t right.
My husband has felt the difference as I stopped engaging in intimacy. My children experienced the desperate hold depression has had on me as I stopped wanting to go out and play with them. My body suffered because I stopped going out and enjoying the fresh air and remained inside for days on end sitting, sleeping, and sometimes rarely showering.
I haven’t been ready to admit that it is depression — until now.
Do you think your depression is a choice?
The American Psychiatric Association’s definition of a mental disorder is it symptoms are outside of voluntary control. No one chooses to feel cripplingly sad, numb, or perpetually stressed to the point of living days on end in isolation. No one chooses to sleep all day, have their body ache in pain, and miss living life with their family. No one chooses to go days without showering or eating.
These are all behavioral symptoms of depression. Your depression is not a choice. Yes, you have the choice to overcome each of these in the moment by moment — but sometimes it is too much to do alone.
Do you think you can handle it all yourself and it will just go away?
Depression is not a phase that just goes away on its own. Most people who suffer from depression the first time have a difficult time realizing they are depressed. Most often it has to be pointed out by someone close to them. In order to successfully remedy depression, it first must be identified.
While there are different kinds of depression that require different levels of treatment, all usually require the intervention of psychotherapies or personal interaction with an unbiased and trained counselor. For most individuals, if you have had a depressive episode, you are more likely to suffer another in the future.
We need each other to help identify and encourage appropriate treatment for this highly treatable and very common disorder.
Are you are afraid of being misunderstood, judgment, and backlash from friends and family?
Anyone can become depressed. Depression is not a disorder that affects only one aspect of the population. Regardless, there still often remains misunderstanding from friends and family when you admit depression.
Oftentimes, our families and friends feel responsible for allowing us to become depressed. This is not healthy nor true in most cases of depression. While high-stress environments certainly are a big factor in causes of depression — these are only superficial roots. Depression is most often a chemical imbalance that happens when a big change (good or bad) happens in life.
Since anyone can become depressed, you do not need to fear the judgment of others as their judgment is unfounded and untrue. The truth is, those who make judgments against you are just as likely to become depressed at some point in their lives.
Are you are afraid of the changes you will have to make to overcome and become healthy?
Even if you have admitted to yourself that you are depressed, you may be dragging your feet in admitting it to others because you don’t want to change the unhealthy patterns you’ve created for yourself while depressed. We lie to ourselves in depression and tell ourselves that isolation and eating all the chocolate is ok.
You need others in your life. You need to get out. You need to eat healthy foods and make healthy choices. When we decide we are content with our depressive circumstances we resist the necessary changes needed to become healthy.
If you can relate to these reasons why you aren’t ready to admit it is depression, I urge you to reconsider your reasons and call a friend or loved one and admit it today. Although there is momentary uncomfortableness, you will experience freedom in admitting your struggle with depression.
I know I have.
Remember, depression is a liar. You are not alone.
This story has since been picked up by The Mighty.