“Just get over it”
“You’ll feel better if you just come out for a bit”
“I don’t understand, your life is good”
“Life isn’t fair, you need to just pull up your boot straps”
These are a few of the statements that people with depression may have heard in their lifetime. Maybe you’ve heard these comments or something similar.
Unfortunately, even with all the campaigns and increasing awareness, depression remains stigmatized. People are often wary to talk about their experiences due to the discourse of pathology that still surrounds depression.
Complicating this further, are the stereotypes about depression. What many peopel forget or do not know is that depression can manifest differently across people. The following are some less identified characteristics of depression that people report experiencing.
- Depression does not always feel like “sadness.” A lot of clients reflect that they don’t ‘feel sad per se’ but often feel numb or lack emotional affect.
- Depression is not necessarily a “response” to a life event, while this certainly can be the case or life events may exacerbate depression – there is no straight forward causal effect between a life event and depression.
- Depression can be painful! Clients report body aches and pain or depression may manifest in the form of headaches, painful sexual intercourse or gastrointestinal pain.
- Anger! Men in particular report feeling angry or irritable and often can’t express or explain why they feel that way.
- Concentration and memory problems. This is not a simple “I can’t remember where I put my keys” but entails having difficulties remembering things you may just said, remembering what you did the day before or drawing blanks when talking. Some individuals report having a hard time with word retrieval and focusing on the person they are talking to. These type of experiences are often disconcerting and can create fear or panic in the individual.
- Depression does not mean you will hurt yourself or others. Many people who experience depression never have suicidal thoughts. Nor do all people who self-harm experience suicidal thoughts! Often suicide, self-harm and even harm to others, get lumped in together, leading to further misunderstanding.
Getting support if you are experiencing depression can be beneficial. Tools and strategies for managing depression do exist. Breaking down the barriers and stigma entails open and frank conversations. If you want to share your story with us, please contact us.