“So you have depression? Deal with it.”

I will come straight out and say this – I have gone through some terrible times in my life. I have remained in a ventilator, gasping for breath. Those were all very terrible times in my life. But what got me through is the desire to be alive, hope that this will go away, and thankfully I did get out of that eventually. But when I go through phases of depression, this is exactly what I have to fight – when you lose your grip on the feeling – the very desire to be alive, it sucks much worse. My depression is not as terrible as many, and I cope alright with taking my mind away and distracting myself when I go through such a phase. But it still sucks really, really bad when it happens.

It really ruins my day when I see some horrible victim blaming shit about a person who took his life owing to depression. A person, an acquaintance of a friend took his life, and this status was posted by one of the ‘enlightened’ people, who speaks against all the victim blaming women face (and rightly so), say this kind of vile bullshit:

victimblaming sucide

This is what people here do – just refuse to acknowledge the very existence of depression. Do you think we choose to be depressed? Do you think being in USA or India or Afghanistan has anything to do with any of this? Can I tell my brain “stop being depressed, because I am in a much better position than many others?” Well how great it would be had that worked.

...said no one ever.

…said no one ever.

So why I don’t they get help right? Because you have answered your question yourself. This was your attitude towards a person who suffered from depression. And you felt all the self righteousness to shame him in public after he was pushed over the edge.  The stigma is terrible. As I said, I cope alright myself, but I know how this works here – you would be met with some pseudo-medical advice here (because everyone’s an expert, like yourself) – “pray more” or “stop being on the internet all the time” or “we used to never have this in our time <insert random story of hardship here>” or worse, you might get your parents paranoid (not their fault though, understandably). And even if you manage to get past all that and go see a qualified therapist for professional help, you’ll be branded ‘crazy’. I would urge everyone to get professional help if they can’t cope,  but he unfortunately didn’t have it in him to go against the flow and seek help. And our fucked up society and stigma attached to mental illnesses is to blame for that, not him.

Mental illness Stigma Bingo: Same shit everywhere

Mental illness Stigma Bingo: Same shit everywhere

Depression isn’t being ‘sad’. Depression isn’t just being ‘moody’. Depression is having your soul sucked out of you and having that very thing – i.e. that desire that keeps you alive – being taken away. You just feel empty, everything otherwise you would not even think about would magnify itself thousands of times and manage to make yourself feel crappy. For many, it wouldn’t take much to push them over the edge.

If you live in a society where people with mental illness are branded ‘crazies’ and depression isn’t seen as a mental illness and something you can ‘get over’ with some chirpy optimism, and have depression – you would know what I am talking about. It has nothing to do with ‘being rich’ or having all the things you deem to be ‘valuable’ in the world. You can’t just say ‘look at the people who suffer!’ and make it go away. Do you really think we put ourselves voluntarily through all that? Do you really take us for being some brainless morons just because we are depressed? And the last thing people with depression need is such douchebaggery and victim blaming on top of what they already struggle to cope with. So congrats, you are no better than any of the victim blaming rape apologists that you condemn yourself.

Mental illnesses are every bit real as physical illnesses. It’s no different from a badly broken arm – but the only difference is that for many it’s much worse when you don’t have that desire to live anymore, and neither do you get shamed or doubted for it. 

Depression isn’t a sign of weakness. Depression is the sign of a person being strong for far too long. 

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9 responses to ““So you have depression? Deal with it.”

  1. I think what this also has to do with is that, generally people think being depressed is a sign of weakness (like you wrote in the last line) and since they view it as a weakness and not the suffering the person is going through they just act people to toughen up

  2. We need to understand that a psychiatrist treats the brain just as a cardiologist treats the heart, etc. The brain is just another organ of the body. We must remove the stigma associated with mental health issues.

    We don’t look down on diabetics or heart patients. Why should we look down on persons having mental health issues?

    We don’t look down on a person having indigestion or a person having a broken arm. Why should we look down on a person having depression?

  3. OMG! This is something coming from a doctor herself; left alone laymen around.There might be hundreds of reasons why people suffering from mental illnesses wouldn’t seek help in time or at all. There might as well be tens of reasons why therapies stop helping; the most potential of those is being amidst the kind of judgemental sorry lots the Dr. Sahiba acknowledging us in the snapshot is. I really hope she isn’t a psychiatrist!
    ”What an idiot you are for doing this?” What an idiot you are for thinking that people suffering from depression take their lives overnight! They die slowly over the course of their unchecked chronic depression, precipitated mostly by this kind of stereotyping and underrating. Oh and people couldn’t just stop denigrating them even after they are not anymore. Why would ‘useless depressed people’ have to post their picture on facebook before killing themselves? They wanted to convey a silent message or revert to a silent revenge as the last resort in hope of telling the world that whatever they had been through could be anything but self-inflicted attention-seeking sick-role they were stereotyped for. For people through this kind of unchecked suffering, every damn thing about them comes apart yet you expect them to think of others or blame them for putting others to loss!? Suicide is a cruel act yet stigmatizing someone having suicidal tendencies this way rather than showing a bit of empathy is evenhanded?!

  4. You are so right that depression isn’t being “sad”! For me, crying is a sign that I’m starting to come out of a depressions. My toughest brush with depression was when my son was 6 and imagining himself dead, cutting himself with glass, trying to have a car hit him… He is now 11 and vacillates between understanding beyond his years and being emotionally behind. Our favorite writing on depression is the cartoon blog Hyperbole and a Half. You might want to take a look at it.

    • So much Jen. I’m sorry to hear about your situation – but I hope you’re coping OK though.
      I love Hyperbole and a Half.. ALot! 😀 I agree.
      Allie’s releasing a new book right? I’m waiting for that too.

      PS: For those who are wondering about the comic here you go

  5. I am a 14 year old girl. I self harm in many ways. I get suicidal thoughts almost daily and after taking over 5 self-diagnosis tests online I am starting to assume I have a major depression. Many tests have given me high scores with chronic depression and I want help. I want to solve this. I don’t want to self harm or be depressed. How do I tell my parents? To them it will be an excuse from studies and an excuse for being rude and having bad, dull, clumsy behaviour. My dad will say,”Throw away her iPad. Cut off the internet. Make sure she does nothing but study” Even though the chances of him saying that are above 90% lets take the situation where he doesn’t. They’ll freak. They’ll think it’s their fault. Then I’ll be going through a loooong guilt trip. I have lived in Canada from somewhere around 2010 to 2013. 3 and a half years almost. My parents want to take me back there. We have moved a lot in our life and I have had my worst experiences in Canada. Nothing could stop me from overdosing. I want to stay here. In India. At least for one more year until I complete 10th. But they are forcing me to go against my will. Just one year I want to stay. Anything wrong with that? I don’t have any friends. Just two. Guys. And my parents don’t like them. They’re judgemental. I don’t know who to turn to. I feel lost and broken.

  6. When Robin Williams killed himself, I heard a lot of outraged comments that went like “why should a guy who had everything , money, fame, not be happy?”
    They mostly didnt understand that major depression has only to do with Chemical imbalance in the brain and nothing to do with external factors.

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