Depression is a very serious and very common illness that effects more than 300 million people around the world. As common as depression is, unfortunately, depression, as well as other mental health illnesses, is greatly misunderstood, misdiagnosed and not taken as seriously as it should.
Over the years, this has led to many inaccurate (and often harmful) myths and misconceptions about depression. We want to set the record straight on some of these issues to hopefully help stop these myths from continuing to spread and bring better awareness about this serious illness.
Depression is a genetic illness
Many believe that depression is a genetic disease, that if your parents or someone in your family has had depression so will you. That isn’t necessarily true. While some studies have shown if someone in your family has a history of depression you may be more likely to develop it, experts have not found a direct genetic link for depression.
Be aware of family history if you or someone you know is showing signs of depression, but it is not the ultimate deciding factor on developing depression. Depression can occur for anyone at any time.
Depression is triggered by a traumatic event
Many believe that the beginning of someone’s depression can be sparked by experiencing a single, traumatic event. This could be something such as the death of a loved one, the ending of a long romantic relationship or even a near-death experience. The truth is, no one event is a catalyst for depression.
While these kinds of life events may heighten feelings of sadness, loneliness and suicidal thoughts, depression can often occur suddenly and inexplicably even if things in your life are going well and you are feeling generally happy.
You will eventually just snap out of it
A common misconception is that depression is just a phase and that simply maintaining a positive outlook will help you power through the feelings of sadness, loneliness, lethargy and thoughts of suicide. But the reality is depression is a medical condition, and like other medical conditions wishful thinking won’t make it just go away.
Some may have short bouts of depression. Others may have reoccurring periods as depression comes and goes. Others may experience extremely long periods of depression in their whole lives. Just like other medical conditions, depression needs to be treated. Whether it’s a combination of therapy or medication, steps can and should be taken to overcome depression.
Depression is a sign of weakness
Depression doesn’t just affect sick people. It doesn’t just affect women or new mothers (another misconception). You don’t decide when to develop depression. Young, old, physically fit, weak – it doesn’t matter because depression can occur anywhere, any time and in anyone.
Depression isn’t a weakness, nor is it an indication that there is anything wrong with you. It can, and does, happen to many people. Don’t be afraid or ashamed of your depression because reaching out for help isn’t a sign of weakness either!
If you or someone you love is showing potential signs of depression, don’t ignore them. Ask questions and seek help. Contact Cady Wellness and book a consultation with one of our professionals, as we work together to determine the best treatment options.