Depression is everywhere and affects anyone. It doesn’t matter what race you are, what gender you are, how rich or poor you are, how smart you are, what you do for a living, or where you live. If you are human, you are at risk. Depression is a plague and a major cause of illness and disability.
It especially doesn’t matter how “successful” you are. Our societies today equate success with happiness. Wrong. Dead wrong. Successful people frequently deal with severely depression. Very often, success can lead to depression or make it worse.
Depression is so commonplace that we need to train ourselves to assume people around us are afflicted by this invisible condition and act accordingly with compassion and understanding as our first principles. We never know what someone is dealing with – in isolation – and a little compassion goes a long way.
Depression is all about us believing terrible things about ourselves and our lives. Something causes us to think those things frequently enough that we begin to believe they’re true. Those beliefs become so pervasive and all-encompassing that they cause chemical reactions in our brains – squashing our moods, our attitudes, and our physical wellbeing.
Our world is filled with issues that perpetually press down on us: conflict, abuse, violence, harassment, trauma, loss, upheaval, injury, isolation, illness, and so on. Some invade our lives suddenly and brutally. Others drip on us slowly like water torture. Still others come at us in a constant stream via electronic media, upon which we have become increasingly dependent – both for good and bad. The result is that we start to believe awful things about ourselves and about the people and world around us. We lose hope. We lose gratitude. We lose the ability to see beauty and good. With enough repetition and isolation, this condition becomes acute and then chronic.
Then we suffer in silence, unaware of what to do or how to change. We sit in fear that nobody can help, nobody understands, even that nobody cares. We become convinced that negativity is all we should expect.
But… those of us with depression are united in our suffering. We have so much in common, whatever our position in life, that we should share what are going through. We need to share, with mental health professionals and with each other. Through that sharing, we can know we are not alone. Through that sharing, we can find strength.
We need more depression sufferers to speak out and declare that they are affected.
We need more depression sufferers to play a role in helping others. Some of the people best placed to help are those who understand how it feels.
Whoever you are, speak up, reach out, and ask for help.