July 11, 2013

Warning, some readers may find this post triggering.

I have been gathering research for the past week or so on what people actually think about depression as an illness. I was shocked, upset and almost angry at what I saw amongst some social networking sites and forums.

I am generally an open-minded person. I will respect peoples’ opinions on subject matters as long as they are fully educated in it. However, it was clear from what I read on these sites that some people have not done their research. In this instance, the subject matter was depression and self-harm, and individuals were throwing around insensitive and insulting comments for the public to see.

Having probably started self-harming at fourteen, experiencing depressive and suicidal thoughts when I came into high school, and being finally diagnosed with severe depression at fifteen, I think I probably know enough about depression as an illness to make a comment on it now I am nineteen.

Depression is perfectly real

Depression is perfectly real. In my opinion, it is unusual to not be able to get out of bed in the morning. And no, this is not because we are ‘lazy’. We physically cannot find the motivation/drive/point in facing the day, we cannot bare to face the world because that is how low we feel. You feel so low that you are almost a magnet, your body and your mind will not allow you to face the day so will keep you in bed to sleep, to hope the day passes quickly and painlessly. Curled up in a ball, trying to drown out the thoughts swimming in your head, but they will not leave you alone, and you are crying yourself to sleep again before you have even had a chance to wake up properly.

Obviously everyone will have very different experiences but this is how I feel, and I am sure many other people are in the same boat as myself.

Back to the matter at hand, I thought I would share some of what I found, and highlight the importance of removing this stigma and ignorance that certain people have with depression.

I came across these comments on Facebook

I came across a picture on Facebook, and these comments were in the thread. I warn you that some people may find these upsetting:

“If you’re willing to let a few words cause this kind of self-abuse, no one is to blame but yourself... People die every day. Why should I feel any pity for those who are selfish enough to take their own lives for no good reason?”

“Cutting or suicide is a wimpy way to deal with that stuff.”

“Cutting yourself is stupid. You’re only inflicting more hurt and pain on yourself, it makes no sense to me.”

Pretty harsh things were said in that one thread on Facebook. Though one thing I am glad of, is that the last individual admitted it “made no sense” to them. This should give us a reason to start these conversations today. To remove this negativity surrounding self-harm and depression, and educate individuals like these who do not seem to know anything about the subject.

Depression is not an illness that shows you are weak

In my opinion, depression is not an illness that shows you are weak. In fact, I believe it is the complete opposite. I believe depression to be the illness of the strong. The things depressives go through in day to day life could make us almost superhuman, our thoughts will affect us physically, as well as mentally but we will still soldier through our lives.

If we all work together, we can battle this stigma and discrimination for at least future generations if not out own. These kinds of comments are not right, I understand that people will not fully be able to empathise with depressives as they have not gone through it themselves, but there is really no need to throw around insulting comments in public like that. If we all start one conversation, maybe we can change at least one person’s opinion on mental health.

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