Tuesday / February 07 / 2012
6 truths to normalizing depression (part II of II)
“If depression is creeping up and must be faced, learn something about the nature of the beast. You may escape without a mauling” – Dr. R.W. Shepherd.
I love this quote currently featured on Martin’s website, TooDepressed.com.
An accomplished writer about depression help strategies, Martin has been close, personal friends with the fear of being stigmatized as mentally ill. He’s not alone.
In Part I of this post, we dissected the stat that 54% of people believe depression is a personal weakness by examining at the raw, honest comments of my readers.
Throughout my personal, laborious journey of depression, I found a lifeline. A lifeline I vowed to share.
I compiled a list of important truths that are crucial to winning the fight against this malady. Whether you suffer with depression yourself or know someone who does, this list is for you.
6 Truths To Normalizing Depression
(1) This journey is not intended to be taken alone. Talk, process, and share with those who love you. Do it NOW. Remember this is new for both of you. Your experience will be built together along the journey. Emanate patience. You are not the only person in the world who feels this way. You are not alone.
(2) Seek help. What a relief it was to learn my condition has a name… and there is help. A request (or cry) for help is a critical part of healing. Depression does NOT get to win. Admission of sadness, apathy, and exhaustion are things you (and a loved one, if available) should bring to your family practitioner, your counselor, psychiatrist, psychologist — or any combo therein.
(3) Find your individual solution. There are no pat answers. What “works” for someone else may not work for you. Just as what “works” for you the first time, may not work the 2nd time, or 3rd. Persevere.
(4) If meds help – TAKE THEM. It’s not important whether you stay on them for a defined period of time or for life — what matters is the help they provide along the way. There is NO shame in taking meds to treat depression, just as there is no shame in taking Excedrin when you have a headache.
(5) Understand “normal” may look differently now than it used to. Your “normal” before depression isn’t necessarily your “normal” now — but in no way is that a bad thing. It’s just something you should be aware of so that nine months down the line, you’re not beating yourself up for “still not being normal”.
(6) Be an advocate. Don’t be afraid to talk about it. It takes education and repetition to catch the light of truth and attention. Let’s let the whole world in on it. [NOTE: before you openly share someone else’s personal story of depression, please be sure you have their permission.]
Friends, let’s change the way the world talks about this illness. Just as we respect the legitimacy of uninvited ailments like cancer and multiple sclerosis, we must recognize and respect the legitimateness of depression. Working together through communication and education, we can “normalize” depression. Thank you for being part of the solution.