When it really comes down to it, misconceptions about depression are far too common to simply ignore.
Common misconceptions about depression are common because people assume things based off irrelevant personal experiences.
The truth is that everything that you think or judge is purely subjective.
The difference between subjective thoughts and objective thoughts is the same as the difference between perceived facts and thoughts like philosophy.
Let me put it to you this way – were you ever sick before? You probably were.
Now, if I were to ask you to tell me about your sickness, what would you tell me?
You would list a few symptoms, tell me about how you remember sickness being, right?
But these memories are nothing more than how you remember the experience being, they are not facts.
So when someone else gets sick you are able to understand their experience based on your own.
That being said, the two experiences are not identical, and while the symptoms might be almost the same, they are not.
What does this have to do with anything?
When it comes to, for example, having a sore throat, the difference in perception might not matter all that much.
When it comes to depression, on the other hand, it does.
Depression, from an untrained point of view, appears to be very similar to sadness, grief or simply having a bad mood.
The difference is that these are all perfectly reasonable emotions, while depression is everything but.
This gap in understanding stems from the fact that many people associate depression with these negative emotions.
Not only is that incorrect, but it takes away from the severity of depression.
After all, everyone feels sad from time to time, its no big deal.
As such, people apply their subjective understanding of depression and come up with some very inaccurate conclusions.
5 Common Misconceptions About Depression
Obviously, there are many more misconceptions on this subject than five, but they are all very similar.
When it comes down to it, they all stem from the fact that people don’t fully understand depression.
The general rule of thumb here is that any conclusion based off the idea that depression is an emotion or a feeling and not a medical disorder is wrong.
Believe me, once I give you some of these examples you will get the hang of it
1) “You are just sad”
I actually wanted to start with this one right off the bat.
Many people seem to confuse depression with sadness. The two are vastly different, though:
Sadness is an emotion caused by a specific situation over a short period of time.
It normally can be overcome by simply experiencing a stronger emotion, Finding a distraction or simply waiting for it to go away.
Sadness is a natural human reaction and there is nothing wrong with it.
Depression, on the other hand, is not “normal” behavior in the slightest.
It’s a mental illness that affects both the body and the mind, it lasts for a few months at the very least and it can trigger other medical issues.
The main problem with depression is the fact that it alters our natural biases for extended periods of time.
It affects our behavior, thoughts, and perceptions.
If you were sad and saw something that could make you happy, you would probably be happier, right?
On the other hand, if you are depressed and see something that would normally make you happy then you probably wouldn’t react to it at all.
Depression doesn’t let you grasp emotion the way you used to, it changes your way of thinking – it’s nothing like ‘sadness’.
Or any other emotion, for that matter.
2) “It will go away eventually”
Another very common opinion on the subject of depression is that people cant be depressed forever.
Given time, they are bound to feel better.
The people who say this believe that depression is a state of mind, a choice.
It is not.
It is true that depressive episodes eventually go away by themselves, but they won’t do so simply because you chose to move on.
Dysthymia, chronic depression, can last for up to two years and more, and relapse is very common.
Depression is unlikely to go away unless action is taken to get rid of it.
When compared to short-lasting experiences such as sadness or grief, depression is much more severe.
3) “It’s not a real disorder”
And then, there are those who claim that it’s not a mental disorder in the first place.
Based on their personal experiences they believe that they get “depressed” from time to time as well.
This belief of theirs takes away a lot from the severity of depression, downgrading it to a common feeling that “depressed” deals with
This assumption is wrong.
Here are a few facts:
- It can be measured by genetic factors, and some researchers have already proven that depression is highly related to genetics
- Certain parts of the brain actually shrink when exposed to depression over time
- Things like meditation have proven to alter the brain in a way that decreases depression
Depression actively shifts your brain, controlling the way that you think and see the world.
It can be influenced by genetic factors, as well as environmental ones.
Clearly, this is a mental disorder, and there is plenty of scientific data to prove it.
4) “It’s a sign of weakness”
In our macho culture, more so in men than women, we tend to call out those who suffer from depression, viewing them as weak.
After all, everyone gets depressed from time to time, right?
Truth is, depression influences your brain from the inside.
How can you be judged by anyone based on things that you can’t control?
You could just as easily call someone out on their addictions to smoking and drinking.
After all, Why is it so hard for them to just stop when they claim to have such great force of will that their so-called “depression” didn’t bother them.
For the very same reason that it bothers you.
Changing the way that your brain functions can take time and effort, and it is not always successful regardless.
The truth is that the mind can be damaged just as easily as any other part of the body.
No one will call you out on feeling pain from a broken limb, but when it comes to depression it suddenly becomes a weakness.
5) “If you want help, you need antidepressants”
This one is actually a two-in-one kind of deal.
Some people claim that taking antidepressants is the only solution for depression, and many of them will not take you seriously until you try these drugs for yourself.
Heck, when I had depression during my service in the military the only things I was offered were antidepressants.
Them, as well as regular “visits” to the psychiatrist, which were meant to solely check up on my condition.
You know, in case of any side effects.
No other help was even suggested.
This actually bothers me, since research seems to suggest that (in most cases) there isn’t a particular advantage to antidepressants over therapy.
The truth is that antidepressants are not any better than therapy.
In certain cases they can be better than any other form of help, but that can be said about any method of treating depression.
Aside from helping with depression, antidepressants aren’t very good for your health.
There are many side effects and just as many alternatives.
So really, if someone chooses not to take antidepressants then it means nothing regarding the severity of their condition.
It all comes down to personal experience
If depression sufferers were let other people control their perception of depression then they are only bound to get worse.
Most people do not understand depression, and many of them tend to judge it regardless of how much they know about it.
In some cases, it is better to just keep your opinions to yourself.
The alternative is to speak up and prove how ignorant you really are.
Depression is not an emotion or a feeling, it is not something that simply comes and goes, it is a real medical disorder.
The good part about depression is that it is entirely possible to get better through enough effort.
When it comes to depression, self-help can be more effective than therapy or even antidepressants.
I would personally recommend checking out the Destroy Depression System
It gives you plenty of great, actionable advice on how to get better.
Try it out for yourself and see how it goes.
Here’s a quick question for you – What did you believe about depression that turned out to be false?
Make sure to write down your answers in the comments section below – I go through every single one of them!
If you got any questions you would like to ask me personally then feel free to send me an email.