Depression: /dɪˈprɛʃ(ə)n/ feelings of severe despondency and rejection.
So many people have tossed around the phrase, “I’m depressed” or “this is so depressing” without understanding how it really affects those suffering with depression. This has made people take depression lightly, when it’s a serious mental health disorder.
It’s been seven months since I’ve been diagnosed with chronic depression and PTSD. I’ve been admitted twice at a psychiatric hospital because it’s been extremely difficult. You tell people that you’re depressed and the usual responses are “life is not that deep”, “just pray about it and you’ll be fine”, “we all have problems, we just deal with them”. Others think it’s a phase, you’re seeking attention, that you’re allowing yourself to be depressed.
Imagine how isolated the person with the depression is. No one to talk to because no one will take them seriously. I can tell you now, no one who truly is suffering with depression would want to stay that way. You start feeling like it’s all in your head. It makes you feel even more depressed. You end up sinking into a deep negative space that it affects your physical, spiritual and emotional health.
“Your mental health is important”
It also becomes tricky in the work environment because you feel like your employers will start undermining everything you do, automatically assuming that you’re not capable of working. To compensate, employees hide their diagnosis and overwork themselves so that their work ethic doesn’t come into question. You become so exhausted and eventually unhappy at work because you’re constantly trying to prove your worth. Again, spiralling deep into depression which could lead to suicide or other self-destructive actions.So this is why I emphasise, if you feel like you’re depressed. Seek help. Don’t suffer in silence. Understand the symptoms and know that you might not experience all of them. Take charge of your health. Remember that your mental health is important. If you don’t have medical aid, look for psychologists and psychiatrists at your local clinics. There are online platforms as well, such as
* @MentalWealthZA on Twitter,
* http://www.sadag.org (or call +27800121314)
* Suicide crisis line +27800567567
* Adcock Ingram Depression and Anxiety Helpline +27800708090
to help you understand and manage your disorder (s). Once you’ve seeked professional help, the journey still won’t be easy but it’ll be worth it. The antidepressants, mood stabilisers, sleeping tablets won’t be a quick fix. Don’t rush yourself. I’ve been on them for seven months and I still have my episodes but it’s a lot better. You’ll discuss this with your psychiatrist.
For those who know or suspect someone might be depressed. Reach out to them. Help them find the professional help they need. They really need your support, not judgment. I know some of the people who you think might be depressed might be in denial but don’t give up on them. They still need you.
World Mental Health Day – 10 October