Depression Is Not...

You can find a lot of resources online that will tell you the definition of Depression. I'm sure most of you have at least a basic understanding of what depression is. But there are many misconceptions about depression, people who suffer from depression, and the medication that some people take for their depression.

So I am here to tell you what Depression is NOT.

Depression is not a choice.
Depression is not an excuse.
Depression is not a copout.
Depression is not a bad day (or week).
Depression is not something a good cry will make better.
Depression is not something you can sleep off.
Depression is not something you can shake off.
Depression is not something you can control.

Medications are not a crutch.
Medications do not numb.
Medications do not create a 'high'.

Medications DO provide balance.
They provide emotional stability.
The help you keep your head above water.
They help you get out of bed in the morning.
They save relationships.
And they save lives.

There are exceptions to everything. But don't assume that the person you know who takes medication for depression doesn't really need it. Because she 'acts fine'. Maybe those medications are the ONLY thing that enable her to 'act fine'. Maybe behind closed doors, she does not 'act fine'. Maybe they are the only way she is able to parent her children. Maybe they are keeping her alive.

Depression is serious. It kills people every single day. Please don't make someone feel guilty about needing help for this illness.

(all images from PostSecret)

I'm Pouring My Heart Out today with Shell @ Things I Can't Say.
Visit her blog for more PYHO posts.


Sandra said...

Great post! I think it is SO great that you took the time to write this out for the masses. I am not depressed, but my bestfriend's mother struggled with it her entire life, and refused treatment. We know that had she accepted to take medication, everyone in her life, including herself would have benefitted. So good for you for getting so honest. This is so real.

Rob-bear said...

As someone who lives with chronic depression, and has for decades, I appreciate what you have posted.

The only thought which caught me off guard was the notion that medication is not a crutch. A crutch is what enables a person with a broken leg to function. Medication is what enables people with significant depression to function. Medication does indeed provide stability (as does a crutch). And meds save lives and relationships. Without them, I would probably not be here.

Other than that small point of reflection for me, very good. Thank you very much for sharing these thoughts.

Myya said...

This was a really great post. I would be suprised to find anyone who hasn;t been affected by it in some form. My mom definitely DEFINITELY needs her meds. Like she is WAY off the couple times she thought she didn't need them. Technology is amazing & thank God we have doctors who can assist people with this horrible issue!

C said...

cindy, "Maybe they are keeping her alive."

oh yeah, babe... that was me during and after my divorce.. i was pregnant and already had 2 kiddies.. they kept ME alive.

i have depression. thanks for this post. BTW, what is the name of your font, i love it!!!

Lauren said...

Thank you! From someone who has experienced depression and taken medication for it.

Diane said...

I've never experienced true depression. Grief, YES, but depression for unexplained reasons, no.
I do belive it is very real, having talked to many people who have struggled with it and I think the medication used to treat it can be a Godsend.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for this post. There is still SUCH a stigma with depression that really shouldn't be there.

Wendy said...

What a fabulous manifesto for the depressed (i.e. me)!

There is still so much stigma surrounding mental illness and beautiful posts such as these go such a long way to validate people who suffer from depression and education those who luckily don't.

For some reason, celebrities public struggles with mental illness have also made me feel better: http://sadinthecity.com/2011/01/24/famous-people-theyre-just-like-us-but-crazier/

Though, I would much rather have Angelina Jolie's lips than her depression!

Thanks again for such an important post.

Anonymous said...

My brother died 7 years ago today due to suicide.

Thank you for this post, for your honesty and your insight!

April said...

Such a poignant reminder, Cyndy! My mom and brother both suffered from depression, so this hits close to home. THANKS for sharing!

Brandy@YDK said...

great post. you really drove the point home.

blueviolet said...

This is the absolute truth. I do think that some of the stigma of depression meds has been removed over the years because those of us who take meds for it are speaking out loud and proud! But until it touches you or someone you love, you might not realize just how real it is.

Shell said...

Such a great post! Depression is real and not a choice that someone can just get themselves out of.

Kat said...

Amen!!!! Depression is real and very serious.
Great post!

Katie Hurley, LCSW said...

This is an excellent post. Depression is still misunderstood, even though it affects millions of people. I'm so glad that you shared this. Sharing your experience will be so helpful to other people going through it.

mich said...

thanks for this post - my mom and little brother suffer from severe depression and you never know what a day is going to be like - without meds i am sure they would not be here.

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Roger that! Spread the word, yo.

Mich said...

Thanks for posting this. I know that took a lot of courage. When I was pregnant with my oldest 12 years ago, my husband went through MAJOR depression. When I say major, I mean major. To the point where he was seeing a psychiatrist and psychologist and they put him in intensive group therapy where he went every day for over a month. I was worried about losing my job because I was spending 3-4 hours a day on the phone with him trying to convince him that it was going to be okay. But honestly? I really wasn't so sure at the time.

It was probably the toughest thing we've ever been through. He's been on medication ever since, and I don't want him to go off it, because I don't want to take the chance that he will relapse. It's not worth that risk; especially now that we have 3 beautiful children that depend on him and us.

Depression is VERY real. And VERY scary. And I would never wish it on my worst enemy. And if you haven't been through it, you'll never understand. But just like I'LL never understand what it was like for HIM, HE'LL never understand what it was like for me.

Again, thanks for posting and PYHO. It means a lot.


Jenna said...

yes to everything.

thank you for posting this. I tweeted about it before I replied, even. SO important to advocate and educate in the face of such misunderstanding about depression. thank you for pouring your heart out at things I cant say.

A Musing Mother said...

Don't you know, though, that if you are prayerful enough, righteous enough, faithful enough, depression and anxiety will be HEALED? Just like that?!

Just like the uterus removed last year from the hysterectomy will magically grow back or you will win the Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes.

Tara R. said...

This was brilliant. Any one who is not dealing with depression personally, or that of a loved one, should read this.

Him and Her said...

Thank you for sharing. This is poignant and is close to my heart. Thank you.


anymommy said...

I'm so glad that you write honestly and openly because I know, without a doubt, that others read and feel less alone. Depression is a part of some of my very favorite people.

Mrs4444 said...

Those secrets are heartbreaking.

mommytoalot said...

Great post!

Emily said...

Depression is hard to understand until you experience it. How can someone not get out of bed? How can someone let themselves be so dirty? You've got to do it for your child!

It is thanks to posts like yours that help healthy people understand! Keep talking about it, I will too, and maybe one day mental illness will be thought of in the same way people look at those who have cancer or lupus.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

This has me in tears. I am sure there is a reason why I am reading it today. My daughter is getting off a medication that didn't work and she is in a bad way right now.
Depression is not a choice and she wishes so badly not to feel this way. She doesn't want to live this way anymore. It breaks my heart in a million pieces watching her as we try new medications.