By ERIK MEDINA
There are various misconceptions of depression, the most common and my personal favorite is that you’re just sad. Depression isn’t just something you wake up with, it’s something that lingers with you until it becomes crippling.
Everyone experiences depression differently. There isn’t a code of conduct that tells you how to live your life.
Depression is better known as unipolar depression, according to the “Fundamentals of Abnormal Psychology” (Eighth Edition), a textbook used to teach Psychology 214 at Pima Community College. It also states that “whenever we feel particularly unhappy, we are likely to describe ourselves as ‘depressed.’ In all likelihood, we are merely responding to sad events, fatigue, or unhappy thoughts. This loose use of the term confuses a perfectly normal mood swing with clinical syndrome.”
Some symptoms of depression include emotionally feeling sad or dejected, describe oneself as feeling miserable, empty and humiliated. Depressed people are usually less active and less productive, they spend more time alone and may stay in bed for long periods.
Usually when depressed, people hold extremely negative views of themselves. They consider themselves inadequate, undesirable, inferior and perhaps evil.
For me, depression has been a part of my life for a long time. It was something that numbed me and made me feel empty.
I would always put up a wall and pretend that everything was fine. I made people believe that I was happy, and I had my life together. In reality, I felt alone and secluded from the world.
Feeling sad would be an understatement. I constantly lived with the feeling of I wasn’t good enough and that I was just a burden to those around me and to the world.
When I entered college, that’s when my depression hit its peak. I lost connection with friends and rarely talked to family.
My grades began to slip, and that only made things worse. My motivation to keep pushing and finish my education dwindled. There were days that I wanted to give up. I just wanted to no longer have responsibilities; whether this be school, work or anything at all.
According to the textbook, about 9 percent of adults in the United States suffer from a severe unipolar pattern of depression in a given year, while as many as 5 percent suffer from mild forms. About 18 percent of all adults experience an episode of severe unipolar depression at some point in their lives.
Once that I came to terms that I had depression, I decided to seek medical help. I realized that I wouldn’t gain anything from avoiding the fact. Subconsciously I avoided getting diagnosed because I had an irrational fear that once I was diagnosed I would somehow become incapable or just less of a person.
Although seeking medical help didn’t really benefit me, I felt that I didn’t get the adequate help I needed. When I went in, I was asked how I felt and if I believed that I had depression. After that session, I was no longer asked questions about it, as if I was disregarded.
Now, why is all this relevant; why am I telling you this sob story? The simple answer is because people need to know. Whether you are someone who is living with depression or you know someone going through it, it helps to know what’s going on.
If you are suffering from depression, know that you are not alone. There are others out there that — despite them not experiencing the same thing you are — are facing their own struggles. Talk to someone and seek the help you need. Take it from me: You are not helping yourself if you are not doing anything about it.
Finally, if you know someone who suffers through depression: Don’t try to force them to get better. Things like this take time, so instead of forcing them to go out more or be more social, just be there for them. Ask them what they need or how you can help.