Depression: Why It’s Important To Speak Up
Recently we had the opportunity to listen to a very inspirational, strong woman speak about her battle with depression. Julie Hersch, the talented author of Struck By Living, was no stranger to the hardships of mental disorder. In fact, her painfully detailed biography outlines the contradictory life she lived: that of a loving husband, happy family, and financial stability coupled with this looming illness known as depression. Her book, a compelling, brutally honest depiction in itself, is not where she stops sharing her story. Hersch dedicates much of her life to speaking out about the importance of discussing mental disorders and how it is something that is very possible to overcome.
Depression is not a recent disorder; its conditions date back to Mesopotamian times where it was referred to as “melancholia”. It is a fairly common, serious illness that affects women and men of all ages. It is a common misconception that depression is a side-effect of being sad or weak and is simply something that you exaggerate in your head. This is not the case. Many people that deal with depression bottle it up inside and do not seek treatment. However, even those that suffer from severe depression can get better with the correct treatment. The importance of talking about depression or any other mental illness is immense.
Why Talking About Depression Helps
It may feel impossible to explain to others the helpless feelings you have inside, but know that you are not the only one who suffers from these feelings. There are many paths to recovery and each person’s may be different. Whether you attend self-help groups, speak to a clinician, seek medication, or simply speak to loved ones, it’s important to share your feelings. Explaining your condition and symptoms will help those around you, including yourself, understand what it is you’re going through.
How to Open Up About Depression
It’s never easy to start openly discussing your feelings. Make it a priority to actively speak about your symptoms and emotions. When you decide the time is right, remember these helpful items to help you through the process:
- Recognize that you have a real concern Because there is still a significant stigma and misunderstanding that surrounds mental illness, people are reluctant and afraid to open up. You must recognize that you have a legitimate concern and reason to get help.
- Find someone that you feel comfortable talking to Finding the right doctor or clinician to help you through the pain is very important. You have to feel comfortable sharing some of your most intimate feelings with that person, so don’t settle if it doesn’t feel right. It’s important to be as open as possible about your symptoms so that you can be properly diagnosed.
- Know that every little bit helps Realize that every little bit counts. If your loved one is dealing with depression, take the time necessary to do something that will brighten their mood or make them feel good regardless of how minimal a thing it may be. Getting them out of bed to do even just a bit of physical activity or going for a walk outdoors is proven to help.
- Set realistic goals and expectations Patience is key. Treatment takes time and effort, and you owe it to yourself to be your own biggest advocate. Allow yourself to find the path that will work best for you without comparing to others. Everyone has their own goals and expectations, and it’s important to set those that fit best in your life.
If you, or someone you know, suffers from depression or any other mental illness, encourage them to get help and start voicing their concerns. This is a treatable illness that should never hinder anyone’s paths to happiness or success. To hear an inspirational story about battling depression, begin by reading Julie Hersch’s book Struck By Living.