Why Depression is Hard to Understand


As someone who hasn't personally had depression, I find it hard to grasp an understanding of it sometimes.

Depression is invisible and is more than 'feeling sad'.  

It's highly likely that you will not be able to notice that someone you know or a stranger walking down the street has depression, making the understanding process harder. Maybe as someone who hasn't experienced it, I'm not meant to understand it. Maybe I'm not expected to. How can I? All individual experiences are different, so how are we able to really understand an others emotions, even if you have experienced a mental illness or not.

However, just because the understanding of depression may be hard, it doesn't mean that you can't have awareness of it. It's like thinking that because you're not gay, the LGBT community are not important - it's illogical. I'm not black but I still support Black Rights eg. 'Black Lives Matter', because it's important. I've never had depression but I support the groups pushing for greater awareness, because it's important. There is a large stigma around mental health, as if those suffering from mental health problems, are a group of weird creatures that you're not meant to go near. The girl that cuts at school is a 'goth' or 'doing it for attention' and the boy that doesn't talk to many people due to anxiety is a 'creep'. No one is less of a human due to their mental state.

Moreover, I feel that the stigma around mental health is not helped by certain things on social media. As soon as you type in depression, numerous images come up - like so:

Sites like Instagram and WeHeartIt, for example, have thousands of images related to the topic of depression and mental illness, some of which are extremely negative. Expressing emotion through images, text posts and creative edits, is a way that someone can reach out to others or simply release thoughts. However, I don't think that the images above and text posts that spring up on the internet often, help anyone really understand mental health. When I first got WeHeartIt (an app/website for sharing cool images), if I was in a bad mood, I would make it my duty to find images that would relate to how I was feeling, 'heart' them, thus sharing it to my wall, for others to see. This would mean that I was often sharing negative images with my audience something that over time, I realized didn't actually help how I was feeling. My friends would do it too, so you would instantly know if they were in a bad mood. My conclusion is that, sharing these negative images and text posts about suicide, hating everyone etc etc, has no real link to understanding mental health or, in my eyes, would help someone who is suffering from it. Glamorized depression.

On the other hand, there are a number of positive images on the internet surrounding mental health awareness. Even though the topic of mental health may not even cross your mind or 'it's not that deep', to some indiviuals, it's an everyday a battle. Why not make it easier for them and understand that not understanding depression and mental illnesses is not the issue but treating someone as a lesser human just because they have a mental illness is.

Spread awareness, they aren't nutty, murderers, attention seekers or 'just sad'.

Simply by listening to someone, you can help.
Let's tackle depression... together.

The Samaritans:  08457 90 90 90
ChildLine:            0870 336 2950
Trevor Project:     866-488-7386

For some more info:

I wrote a post similar to this last year and went on to be my most viewed and shared piece of writing. Thank you for your continued support for this blog and the topics that I write about.

Nicholls x

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