Depressed or ‘ just a bit unhappy’?

Depressed or ‘ just a bit unhappy’?

Depression

Depression

Mental illnesses are so common that it is hard to believe that people still have very backward views concerning them. According to the Mental Health Foundation, “One in four families worldwide is likely to have at least one member with a behavioural or mental disorder”. Therefore, why are they taboo subjects?

A somewhat terrifying statistic suggested that between “8% and 12% of the British population will experience depression in any year” clearly urging us to find ways to aid struggling individuals and make this message known.

Nowadays, we live busy, stressful and time consuming lives that affect us in more ways than we can imagine, whether it be lack of sleep, irritability, stress or something deeper such as schizophrenia. No matter what the issue may be, big or small, it should not be neglected and yet we still have the tendency to create a hierarchy of problems, subsequently deeming some more important than others which is not the case. Peer pressure of this kind, where we refuse the existence of problems is one of the main causes of unhappiness, which could lead to a loss of self-confidence and can furthermore stimulate someone to commit self-harm, with around 400 per 100000 in the UK, or even suicide.

Downward spirals are to be avoided at all cost but it has become clearer that the only person who has a chance at preventing them is the one suffering in the first place. The feeling of loneliness must be overwhelming.

No-one should have to be in that situation, however the main problem is that most people who do not know enough about mental illnesses and do not understand the intricacies of them, are scared to get involved. Depression can be seen as a selfish illness which shuts off the sufferer from the rest of the world as much as it shuts off the friend or family member from them. We are all implicated by mental illness, whatever it may be and we should be able to talk about it but the inability for the depressed to express their troubles and the struggle for the friend to coax them out, do not allow for a comfortable conversation. Furthermore, being English means we have tendencies to ‘bottle things up’. Worldwide, the biggest lie is to say ‘I’m fine’. How many times do we say that when really we are far from being fine? How many times have we accepted that as an answer and then walked away from someone who is sending out a cry for help? We can now understand the dramatic increase in therapy over the past decade, allowing for people to turn to someone external for help.

On the other hand, when people open up completely, admitting regularly that they need help, what do we do? Well, we have the audacity to scorn them for revealing a weakness and for not being strong enough to deal with the problem on their own. We would be inclined to stigmatise mental illness, and accuse sufferers of not really being ill, of faking it, on the basis that we are all ‘depressed’ or have experienced what we believe is ‘depression’ at some point in our lives.

People misconceive what it is to be depressed. The word is overused and is stripped it of its truer meaning when it is applied to a sentiment of dissatisfaction, or unhappiness. Breaking up with your boyfriend does not imply that you will sink into depression.

Finally, from what has been said, people must once and for all eradicate any thought that classifies depression as the only mental illness, as unfortunately, the list goes on, including but not limited to anorexia, bipolarity, anxiety, phobias, paranoia, dementia.. Our lives are not smooth, they will be bumpy rides, and we will all have those “off” days, when the world seems very grey and miserable. Nonetheless, there are people seriously struggling and despite any preconceived ideas we have about how they really feel, we must make it our duty to not shun them, nor reject them, but accept them for who they are, however battered or down they may be. We cannot even begin to attempt curing everyone, but a smile on those rainy days may be all it takes to bring a little sunshine into their lives.

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