8 Misconceptions of People About Depression
By Dani Panopio
Last week, noontime show host Joey De Leon made controversial remarks relating to depression that drew flak from netizens and even from his co-host, Maine Mendoza, during one of Eat Bulaga’s segments. During the noon time show’s Juan for All, All for Juan segment, De Leon quipped “Yung depression, gawa-gawa lang ng mag tao iyan. Gawa nila sa sarili nila.” pertaining to the contestant’s battle against depression.
Mendoza came in defense of the contestant, saying “Hindi biro yun ah, yung depression. Hindi siya joke kasi maraming nakakaranas ng ganon, lalo na sa mga kabataan. Kaya dapat kapag may nakakaranas ng ganon, bigyan natin ng suporta.”
Realizing his mistakes, De Leon immediately apologized the next day, admitting that he was “ill-informed” about the mental illness, with many accepting his apology, saying that he did the right thing.
Just like De Leon, many people are still misinformed about depression and how it affects not just the person having it, but also around them. Let us shed some light on common misconceptions about depression.
Depression Isn’t Real
According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Some telling symptoms of depression are:
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
With the abovementioned facts alone, we can definitely say that depression is a real thing that people deal with some time in their lives.
Depression is Just Another Term for Sadness
What causes us to feel sad? A death of a loved one? An end of a relationship? A failing grade? Well, depression is much, much deeper than that. While it is a symptom of depression, feeling sad is very much different from being depressed.
Sadness is a temporary feeling, while depression is a long-term illness; it’s also an overwhelming feeling of sadness. People dealing with depression tend to feel apathetic and anxious. Physical change can also be seen in a person dealing with depression.
But He/She Doesn’t Look Depressed
Here’s one thing that people should know: depression does not have a specific face. Chester Bennington’s wife shared a video of her husband just 36 hours before he took his own life; in the video, Bennington can be seen playing and laughing with his kid, unaware of his intention to kill himself.
We can’t outright say that someone isn’t suffering from depression just because the person doesn’t look like they’re suffering. We’re also not in the position to dictate whether a person has or doesn’t have depression, as we don’t know what it’s like to walk in their shoes.
“It’s All in Your Head”
Much like how De Leon said that depression is “gawa gawa lang” (made up), one misconception of people about depression is how it’s all made up and is just an excuse by the person experiencing it.
While it does start with your head (through dark thoughts, chronic pain), it’ll soon show up through different symptoms such as problems with digestion, sleeping, exhaustion, and fatigue, etc.
You Can Just “Snap” Out of It
People think that depression has a quick fix and that you can just “turn it on/off” like a switch; but in reality, it’s not. Just because some specific kind of medication worked for someone, that doesn’t mean it’ll work for all people with depression.
Fortunately, there are ways to treat depression, but it will take some time to fully recover. Treatment may come in forms such as therapy, medication, or other alternative approaches.
Depression Is A Choice
Saying that depression is a choice is like saying that cancer is a choice. People suffering depression didn’t choose to be depressed, as it can affect anyone and may not even be triggered by a specific tragedy. People don’t fake it just so that all the attention’s on them. Depression isn’t a choice and will never be.
Depressed? Why Not Take Antidepressants?
Sure, most ailments have medicinal cure, but with depression, antidepressants aren’t always the answer. Your doctor can recommend antidepressant pills, but its effect is usually seen 6 weeks after you take it.
Other than antidepressants, psychotherapy, which is when you talk about your condition with a mental health professional, can also be effective in treating depression. Few types of psychotherapy include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Check out the whole list here.
If Your Parents Had Depression, You Most Certainly Have it Too
While your parents may have suffered depression, that doesn’t mean that you’ll end up having it too. Newer research raises the question of how much of depression is really genetic; a relative having depression increases your risk of getting depression by only 10 to 15 percent.
With this information, it’s best to keep track on your family members and check if they show some symptoms as stated in the first point.
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