I’m Not Crazy!

Depression, along with every form of mental illness, has long been thought to be a moral failing, or a weakness in character.  Unfortunately, because of this stigma, only about two out of every three people seek treatment.  It is estimated that around 15 million American adults suffer from some form or level of depression (Statistics from Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance).  I am not good at fractions and math anymore, but that is a lot of people not seeking treatment and suffering in silence.

By definition, depression is “an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts, that affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things. A depressive disorder is not the same as a passing blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be wished away. People with a depressive disease cannot merely “pull themselves together” and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Appropriate treatment, however, can help most people with depression (MedicineNet.com).”  So why is there such a stigma with depression?  If it’s an illness that can be controlled with medications, and is caused by a chemical imbalance, why are people so ashamed of it?

It took me a very long time to accept my depression.  I felt ashamed of my illness, because at the time I did not think of it as such.  I felt weak.  I felt like a failure.  I felt coo-coo, to be honest.  How does someone so “normal” feel this way without something being wrong with their personality or character?

One day I talked to my former neighbor, we will call her E.  E flat-out asked me if I felt depressed.  I was kind of taken back by that.  I mean, I tried hiding it from anyone and everyone that came in contact with me.  I mean, what would they think if they knew I was nuts?  She then told me about her own personal experiences with depression.  She is also a licensed clinical Social Worker, so she has studied this kind of thing in school.  The thing that got to me was that she is a smart and well spoken mom who suffers from the same illness as I.  So, with that knowledge, I signed into a message board I frequented at the time to ask their experiences and thoughts.  I was overwhelmed at the responses, and how so many of them also suffered from depression.  I was not alone!

How can something so common in relatively normal, healthy people be considered crazy?  Even in today’s society where things are becoming more and more accepted, any kind of mental deviation is frowned upon and shamed.  I read an article the other day (and damn me for not saving it because now I can’t remember where I read it) that stated a poll was taken and about 91% of Britons would hide their depression or related illness from prospective employers for fear of being passed over.  This is unacceptable.  Depression should be looked at the same way diabetes.  It’s an illness that can be treated successfully, if done right, with treatment.

You’re not weak for seeking treatment.  You are the opposite.  You are strong and courageous for confronting something that can be severe and debilitating.  Do not let the stigma get in the way of you living a wonderful and fulfilling life.  I am on the search for other forms of treatment myself.  I have only taken a low dose of prozac, which did nothing for me.  However, there are medicinal and therapeutic treatments out there that will help you, you just have to find the right one for you.  Do not give up.  Be courageous and fight this stigma.  I’ve got your back.  🙂

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6 thoughts on “I’m Not Crazy!

  1. It takes an imense amount of strength to come to terms with having a problem severe enough to NEED to seek professional help. The only problem with having depression is, people aren’t accepting enough to be patient, loving and even the beating post for somebody they love, when they need it the most. I truly hope you get the help you seek because everybody deserves to be happy and healthy in every sense of the word. It’s a long, rough journey… but you’re a strong woman with a wonderful husband. You’ll get there ❤

  2. Hi,

    I saw the blog and was like – wow, a blog about depression! I suffer from depression myself, and my blog is probably not going to be as great as yours[:

    I am suicidal, have no help other than the support of a one or two friends, and of course – the reason for the depression adds to the pain.

    I hope that you and I get better[:

    -Radhika

    • Radhika,

      Thank you so much for responding to my blog. I am so happy you found it and like it.

      Please know you are not alone. I know sometimes it may seem hopeless and not worth continuing on in such pain. Trust me, I know. I hope you will remember next time you’re feeling that low again that you are not alone. I can also say it does get better. I do not know exactly your reasons, but I am positive your life is worth saving.

      Please, if you ever need to talk, email me. I will help in any way I can. Have you ever checked out The Trevor Project? Please do. They are amazing.

      Chin up.
      Nicole

  3. i take zoloft! it has absolutley been my saving grace in this awful battle. i dont mind sharing that i am depressed with people, my fear is people thinking that i am using depression as an excuse for….. well, anything, really!

    • Unfortunately, people who have never experienced depression, either suffering from it or a family member, probably will not understand what it feels like. Its very debilitating, mentally and physically. To those that think its just an excuse, I just brush off and keep going.

    • Oh, and I used to be on Prozac. It was not a strong enough dose, and I have not gone back recently. I have not had the most helpful experiences with seeking out treatment.

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