Why Don’t People Take Depression Seriously?

March 23, 2016

hope and despairThis is one question that I hear most often from sufferers of depression and indeed when I was suffering I didn’t tell anyone that I was depressed because I felt that they wouldn’t understand what I was going through.

One of the worst symptoms of depression is the feeling of loneliness which can be caused by this feeling that no one understands. It takes a lot of courage to tell someone about your depression because you feel that you won’t be taken seriously. This is why so many people suffering from depression fail to get the support they need, they really need to be listened to. So many depression sufferers prefer to keep their suffering to themselves.

This is a very risky strategy – personally I remember when I was deep in depression I didn’t understand I was depressed at all, I just believed all my negativity and dark thoughts were one hundred percent real. You need to talk to someone supportive and sympathetic if you are depressed. That person can help spot possible warning signs that depression is getting worse.

Depression needs to be taken seriously because it is no joking matter for those who feel strangled by the fog and oppression of this illness. In it’s worst case, and the statistics are horrifying, suicide can be the end result. Taking someone seriously if they say they are depressed can save a life.

So what are some of the main reasons why people don’t take depression seriously?

  • It is almost impossible for someone who has not experienced something to understand it. This is the case with depression. “The pain of severe depression is quite unimaginable to those who have not suffered it,” Styron wrote.
  • Mental health has carried a stigma with it for many hundreds of years and it is still misunderstood today. Therefore, many people are suspicious of those who claim their depression is a mental illness. According to statistics presented by “Time for Change” which is run by Mind and Rethink Mental illness in the UK 26%of young people give up on life and their ambitions because of the stigma.
  • Most people think they have been depressed and confuse this destructive and paralyzing illness with sadness. They assume that someone claiming to be seriously ill with depression is just sad and needs to “get over it”. The thinking goes that if they were depressed and have recovered then others can do it too if they just “pull themselves together”.
  • Another reason why depression is not taken seriously is that so many of us who have suffered from the blackness and hopelessness inside put on a brave face on the outside and continued working or going out and smiling through the inner pain. Many have a preconceived idea how a depressed person should look and behave and that does not include going out and acting in a normal way.

Well, you can perhaps appreciate now that if you are a sufferer of depression your fears are probably justified. Being taken seriously is a big problem. So what can you do about it?

Well don’t be like I was – please. I just clammed up and stopped talking, maybe, I thought I just have to figure this out myself. I even went as far as denying to myself that I was depressed, in that sense even I wasn’t taking my depression seriously. This went on for some time maybe two years or more.

What To Do If you Are Depressed and Want To Be Taken Seriously

You certainly can’t change the way people think or respond but you can change how you talk to others and what you say.

Never say “I’m so depressed” – this never gets the response you want unless the other person understands fully, for instance if they suffered from depression before, or if they are a qualified professional such as a psychologist or therapist. You should talk about your feelings with someone who sympathizes with you and who really wants to help. Even friends and family can sometimes refuse to accept depression as the illness it is and so you need to choose who you talk to carefully.

The best thing to remember is that most people cannot understand the pain you are going through because they have never experienced it. You shouldn’t expect them to understand. It is best to seek out groups of like-minded sufferers who you can share your feelings with. A professional counsellor or therapist can really help you to come to terms with what you are experiencing and will sympathize and help point you in the right direction.

Realize also that as most people do not understand depression they don’t know how to help you and so will say stuff like “just get a grip” or “smile and everything will be OK”. Don’t get upset – this doesn’t mean they don’t care about you or don’t want you to get better. It just means that they do not know what to do as they have not experienced what you are going through – in these situations it’s best to seek help from elsewhere.

You need, above all, to take yourself seriously. The first step to recovery is to have a more positive attitude and this is necessary but is not the answer. It may help your depression from getting any worse. Getting rid of it takes time and patience. Here are some things you can do to help yourself deal with depression.

You need to give yourself every chance of beating your problem of being depressed. Professional help may be an option, if you have sympathetic friends you are lucky indeed and that may be all you need but one thing is for sure information of all your options and an overview of all possible methods that you can use to help yourself end depression is worth it’s weight in gold. Get a complete understanding of the emotional, physical and mental aspects of depression and all the information you need to decide what to do next according to your own situation and needs. End your Depression and start your recovery today.