Do you ever feel paralyzed by your thoughts? Find yourself unable to concentrate or carry out everyday tasks? Are you ever exhausted from staying up all night ruminating? Are there some weeks that you are uninterested and or unable to derive pleasure from doing things that most people seem elated about? Do you have feelings of guilt or low self-worth, for no apparent reason?
If you answered “yes” to any or all of those questions, then there is a good chance you are suffering from depression; a mental health disorder that affects more than 300 million people around the world and some 16 million of which are Americans. Depression is a mental health disorder that requires treatment and a continued reliance on medication and/or talk therapy. Without treatment, recovery is unlikely. Those living with untreated depression are far more likely to develop unhealthy relationships with drugs and/or alcohol. They are also much more likely to seek out a permanent solution to their temporary problem (not the disorder, the episode)—commit suicide.
Mental illness is not something you can ignore, the stakes are far too high. While there are treatments available that have proven to be effective for a significant number of people, only a small percentage of depressives ever seek or receive care. If you, in fact, suffer from depression, we don’t need to explain to you why depressives are generally hesitant about seeking assistance. For those who are not familiar with the ever persistent cloud of stigma that has long hung over people with mental illness, perhaps we can shed some light.
Barriers to Treatment
There are a number of reasons a person with mental illness will avoid treatment, but perhaps the biggest barrier is stigma. People living with mental illness are often treated poorly by their community. When the general public talks about mental illness it is often in a pejorative way. While there are many different forms of mental illness, it can be easy to lump everyone in one group or another. You are either “normal,” or you are abnormal. Being the latter of which leaves the afflicted open to any one of several types of discrimination.
Keeping that in mind, it can become apparent that nobody would want to be viewed as being broken. Or being the person that people say, “something is just not right with that one.” Given that millions of people suffer from one form of mental health disorder, or another, it is of the utmost importance that the general public be made aware that stigma does absolutely no good for society.
It’s vital that the public be educated about the nature of mood disorders, that people can and do recover from conditions like depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. But, the affected need encouragement. They need to feel like they can discuss their problems openly, without fear of some kind of reprisal. That they will not be shunned by their peers. Please remember, when people spread or disseminate inaccurate information or derogatory remarks about mental illness, there is a good chance that it is affecting a loved one or at the very least—a friend.
World Health Day
The World Health Organization (WHO) has chosen to turn their lens on depression this year. “Depression: Let’s Talk” aims to get more people with depression to seek and get help. To accomplish the goal, they are asking everyone to help with their ever-important mission. Today, is World Health Day, the focus is depression. Using the tools provided by the organization, we can all have a hand in ending the stigma of mental health disorders.
“If you think you have depression, talk to somebody you trust,” says WHO. Getting help begins with talking about what you are going through. At Hope by The Sea, we know how hard that can be, but we also know that it is worth it. If you need help, please reach out to us, we can help.