Depression is a vile and vindictive disease. It is a thief in the night that comes to rob you of your joy. Living with such a debilitating disease can often be compared to living in a real life horror movie. You know that the ghost exists, you can sense its presence, but you never know when it’s going to reveal itself. Night after night you hear its haunting footsteps in the hall. The slight creaks of the floor are enough to send you into overdrive.
Living with depression is exactly that; except it’s hardly living, wouldn’t you say? I know of many people who suffer deeply from depression and anxiety that they are literally crippled in fear on a daily basis. They cannot leave their own bedroom without diving into a panic attack.
If we’re being honest, not many people know a lot about depression. If we’re being even more honest, I suppose we could say that there are those who may even view “depression” as a crutch.
It doesn’t help that the majority of Mental Health coverage that I see depicts us as lunatics; crashing into public places and killing people. How many, in recent weeks/months/years, have claimed “mental health” as a reason for why they murdered innocent people? One is far too many. Needless to say, those suffering from depression are facing an uphill battle; internally and externally.
Because of this, I would like to spend tonight’s post giving you some of the most important misconceptions of depression. I believe that education goes a long way in helping those who are ill. Without further adieu, here are my top 3.
1.) We are not insane:
Can we please just take a moment and clarify to the world that we aren’t lunatics? We may suffer from an invisible disease, yes, but that doesn’t mean we should be social outcasts. Of the individuals that I have met, not one of them have looked any different from you or I. We are all human beings with souls, emotions, and lives; albeit our emotions can be a little more extreme than others. I’m simply saying that being ostracized in culture doesn’t help our deposition. This doesn’t only go to people who have bad presuppositions but also to the ones who simply pat our backs and say “It’s not that big of a deal.” Too many people opt for this cop-out. I’m sure I can speak on behalf of my friends when I say that it doesn’t help.
2.) We know what we are feeling is irrational:
We deal with ourselves every day; from the moment we open our eyes to the moment we close them again. We didn’t ask to live with something like this. Being stuck with ourselves gives us a lot of time to think and explore. We know for certain that our fears, thoughts, and emotions can be completely irrational. We know that most of what goes through our heads will never happen but it doesn’t change the reality we face. We can’t help but think irrationally while we’re short of breath, our hearts are pounding out of our chests, and the world is spinning. They go hand in hand with each other. I say all of this to say that we don’t need to hear practical how-to’s on how our lives could be so much better if we only ______. Yes, there are times for advice and times for action but mostly we just need a shoulder to lean on.
3.) This is an everyday battle for our lives:
I’ve experienced suicidal thoughts before and they’re not fun to deal with. Sadly, some of you reading this may have even tried committing suicide yourself. This disease affects our brains which then influences the way we live. If the heart is the seat of the emotions then the mind is the steering wheel.
A lot of times we’re not looking for words of encouragement. We find incredible encouragement, though, knowing that someone is fighting for and with us. Having that presence nearby is strength enough for us when we feel we have nothing left. I can’t tell you how many times it’s helped me knowing that there are people who care and understand my position. I certainly don’t struggle as much as some people do but I can assure you that it still makes an incredible difference.
I cannot stress any of these enough: We’re not insane, we know we’re irrational, but all in all, we want someone to fight with us and for us. I can say that, in recent weeks, my bouts of anxiety and depression have dwindled. Only the grace of God can be acclaimed for that as I know He is working in my heart and healing some of those wounds. I would be amiss to expect them to never happen again but I would also be amiss if I thought there would be no one around to fight with me.
I hope and pray this has been encouraging and helpful. If you missed our third entry into the “Finding Who We Are” series, you can find the link here. Karen’s story was fantastic and I hope that you take a moment to read and be an encouragement.
Were there any misconceptions that I may have missed? What do you think of our list? Let us know in the comments!
You are loved.
You are valued.