Stop Believing These Myths about People with Depression

It’s no secret that I battle with depression. I take an antidepressant and talk to my therapist every week to help me navigate my challenges with mental health. While I have an incredible support system, I recognize that not everyone gets that same luxury. With social media becoming so ingrained into our daily lives, so many brave people have also shared their story about battling depression as well. Yet, there are still harmful narratives about depression. By debunking these myths, I hope to bring awareness to what it is really like.

  1. 1. “People with depression need to cheer up.”

    Believe me, if it were that easy to get happy, I believe there would be no such thing as depression. And I’m sure they wish they could just be in a good mindset all the time too. But depression is not just a mood we can flip like a switch. It is a chemical imbalance in our brain because we do not make enough serotonin. We cannot tell our brain to make more of something. It’s like telling someone with asthma to “just breathe.” It just simply does not work like that because no matter how hard they try to breathe, they will still have some problems. We’re not in control of what our brain produces. Sure, it will help to practice self-care, like positive thinking. But, that’s still not enough to get rid of depression. Telling people to cheer up, instead of listening and telling them you care, minimizes their mental disorder to a mood they can simply change. 

  2. 2. “Everyone gets depressed.”

    Yes, everyone goes through trials in their life when it is extremely hard to see the bright side. We all deal with loss, hurt and pain. Sadness is a normal human reaction. We can work through our sadness. Bad things happen to everyone. But, sadness is not the same as depression. When someone is depressed, they tend to withdraw from loved ones, have a hard time concentrating, feel guilty, sleep a lot, lose interest, have unreasonable irritability and even think about self-harm and suicide. Sadness does not completely impact how a person sees the world and themselves. A normal feeling of sadness does not come out of nowhere and stay for extended periods of time like depression. Depression is something that affects everything about us and cannot be minimized to just a feeling we have.

  3. 3. “Those who talk about it are weak or are doing it for attention.”

    People who talk about their mental health challenges are not weak and are not doing it for attention or validation. In fact, it is very brave for someone to be so open about things they are dealing with. Most of the time, it’s discussed to bring awareness and to let people out there know that they are not alone. Believing that people talk about it for attention and are weak for doing so invalidates our experiences and shows that you’re not really here to listen to us. It makes us feel even more ashamed for having it. People who talk about it are doing so to help others and destigmatize it. 

Battling depression is not an easy feat. It is easy sometimes while other times it’s extremely hard. Thanks to social media, I have now learned new ways to cope and talk about it without feeling ashamed. But like I said, it’s not like that for everyone. We need to stop buying into these harmful narratives about depression and try to empathize with people who do have it. We are worthy, capable and brave.