Recent celebrity suicides — Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain — shine a light on something our society generally avoids discussing: depression. In fact, we avoid talking about any sort of mental health issue as if it were the result of a personal shortcoming or failure, rather than a health condition impacting a bodily organ. The only difference is, in this instance, the bodily organ in question is the brain. We no longer shame epileptics. We accept people’s limitations due to diabetes or a debilitating stroke. We should approach mental health issues that same way. We must seek to understand what we do not know, not avoid any discussion of it at all.
To that end, here’s a handful of links to articles about depression.
Depression isn’t sadness — suicide is not a cry for help
Depression is exhausting. And it’s cruel. It tells you terrible things about yourself. That’s why Ms. Spade and Mr. Bourdain died. I can’t speak for their experiences, but I can speak for my own and what I know to be true from many other patients with depression: our minds become ruthless bullies. They tell us the meanest things about ourselves. They stockpile ammunition and open fire. And we have to sit there and take it because, well, it’s coming from our own brains.
Four numbers that help tell the story of depression
…15.7 million adults in America, ages 18 and older, had faced at least one major depressive episode during the past year…
…1 in 3 Veterans visiting primary care clinics in 2008 had some symptoms of depression…
…11 percent of Veterans had elevated rates of depression…
…40 percent higher risk for a heart attack…
22 Things People Do That Actually Mean ‘I’m Depressed’
Just because someone isn’t crying all the time doesn’t mean they’re not depressed, and it can be hard to explain that sudden anger or even overworking is actually a sign you’re not doing well.
What happens when I forget to take my anti-depressants
Every person who struggles with depression fights a different battle and knowing what I go through, especially when I forget my medication, I can’t imagine what it’s like for someone who has worse depression than I do. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be battling this curse alone.
Pill shaming must end
Having a mental illness is hard enough as it is without the pill shaming stigma that floats among those struggling. There is so much misinformation out there about antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs — that they’re addictive or that you’re weak for taking them.
An experiment to experience depression
A lot of people have asked me what depression feels like. They earnestly seem to not know, as if depression were some sort of unfathomable specter.
This is what depression feels like…everything good has all drained out, leaving you cold and naked and alone.
I hope you found these articles informative, and, rather than depressing, uplifting instead, in the sense of understanding what people with depression may be undergoing in their lives.
In case you or someone you know might need it:
If you are in a mental health crisis, you can contact the Crisis Text Line (in the U.S.) by texting “HOME” to 741-741.
The Suicide Prevention Hotline phone number is 1-800-273-8255.