It’s especially difficult to address depression when you’re brought up in Indian society. Time to challenge some common misconceptions.
Myth #1: Hard work can treat and prevent depression
Fact: In our meritorious Indian culture, hard work is respected and even glorified. Individuals struggling with depression may actually be feeling even more guilty given the inability to concentrate on school or their career. For a mild case of sadness, throwing yourself into work may help, but it won’t prevent the feelings of depression from creeping in. Instead of trying to work the feelings away, listen to what your mind and body are telling you – these persistent feelings of sadness may be a sign of depression.
Myth #2: Depression is not a real illness
Fact: Depression is a serious medical condition, but it is still confused with sadness. Unfortunately, sometimes you may go to your family to talk about your depressed feelings, but all too often you may instead walk away dejected because no one quite understands what you are going through – they don’t understand that you are going through something real and clinical.
Myth #3: Depression is only caused by a traumatic event
Fact: A significant traumatic event can certainly trigger sadness, loneliness, and emptiness, but depression can develop outside of experiencing a significant traumatic event. Individuals who are struggling with depression may in fact experience these feelings for long periods of time, in great severity and more frequency. A traumatic event does not always cause depression, but it can trigger feelings of depression.
Myth #4: People with depression cry a lot or are always sad
Fact: Sometimes people who suffer from depression do not cry or seem sad; instead, they may seem emotionally blank and may feel worthless or useless. People with depression can have moments or days of lighter moods before returning to their sadness. They may even be productive at work but still have a low sense of worth and purpose.
Myth #5: Depression is a form of self-pity or laziness
Fact: In today’s competitive environment, being super productive and showing mental toughness are signs of strength and success. However, people with depression are not lazy or just want sympathy. They have a legitimate medical illness that affects their brain chemistry—this makes it extremely hard for someone to get rid of their depression without seeking help.
Myth #6: Family history of mental illness guarantees that someone will get depression
Fact: While it’s true that depression is more likely to affect people who have a family history of mental illness, it doesn’t mean that it’s a 100% likelihood. If depression runs in your family tree, you can take preventive action by paying attention to early symptoms, developing habits such as exercising more and reducing work stress, and proactively seeking professional counselling.
Myth #7: Depression is a lifelong illness.
Fact: For those suffering from depression, it may seem like their entire life will be hopeless and hard. But the reality is that most people who undergo the right treatment and build healthy habits, do get better. Talk therapy and medication can give people the adequate coping skills to successfully deal with stresses in life.If you think you have depression or want to talk to someone about your mental health, consult one of our trusted Veera psychologists or psychiatrists here. Read our previous two posts on symptoms, diagnosis and treatment for depression as well.References: Medical research: If depression were cancer. (n.d.). Retrieved October 08, 2020, from https://www.nature.com/news/medical-research-if-depression-were-cancer-1.16307 Pescosolido BA;Martin JK;Long JS;Medina TR;Phelan JC;Link BG;. (n.d.). “A disease like any other”? A decade of change in public reactions to schizophrenia, depression, and alcohol dependence. Retrieved October 08, 2020, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20843872/
Disclaimer: Content on Veera is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice, or as a substitute for medical advice given by a physician