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How to End Depression Stigma

Ending Depression Stigma

For many sufferers, depression brings on feelings of guilt and shame and, because of these feelings, they will not seek help. But, are these feelings valid? Lack of understanding – both in sufferers and non-sufferers – clouds the issue. So, here’s how to end the stigma associated with depression, stress, and anxiety.

  1. The majority of people in our society experience one of more psychological problems during their lives: Problems from childhood with parents, other family, and bullies; stress at work; marital breakdown; losing loved ones, and of course, making mistakes. Very few people go through life without experiencing mental trauma of some description. So, there’s nothing odd or unique happening here, indeed, depressive illnesses are as common as colds. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 17 million sufferers in the USA every year bear this out.
  2. Mental health illnesses are real illnesses. There’s no stigma associated with diabetes, asthma, or allergies, for example, so why should there be with these? Just like the above illnesses, depression, anxiety and stress have specific causes that can be addressed. You wouldn’t think an asthma sufferer could just “snap out of it,” yet many people say this to depression and anxiety sufferers. Lack of understanding again causes such a reaction and it is the reaction that is wrong, not the sufferer. Although, it really is as simple as “snapping out of it,” just like a traumatic situation or event “snapped” us into it. However, it depends on the level of strength behind them pushing them to grow from it, rather than suffer from it.
  3. Suffering a depressive episode is not your fault so do not feel guilty. You didn’t wake up one morning and think, “Right, I know, I’ll become anxious from now on.” It doesn’t happen like that. No one CHOOSES depression, it can happen to people just like many illnesses do. And like other illnesses, depression can be treated very effectively. But, not one sufferer is to blame, especially if they are seeking help for it. You wouldn’t blame someone who hadn’t been taught to read or write. You wouldn’t blame someone who suffered from hay fever. So, why blame yourself and feel guilty because you’re suffering a stressful illness? Instead of pointing blame anywhere, take action and accountability for your healing, that only you are responsible for.
  4. If you own a car and it’s broken down you go to a mechanic. If you fall and break your arm, you go to an ER to get it repaired. If you have a toothache, you go to a dentist to get it sorted. Stressful illnesses can also be fixed, so don’t let guilt or shame stop you from getting help you need. Just as your body can become ill, so can your mind. It isn’t permanent and just as your body can be fixed so can your psyche.
  5. Many sufferers believe that treating depression is a futile exercise because once you have depression, you have it for life. This is so far on the opposite end of the “truth” spectrum that it is a flat out lie; and, the depression itself feeds this feeling of helplessness. Believing that depression, anxiety or stress is incurable further exacerbates the feelings of guilt and shame, and fuels the illnesses and its control over your life. Depression has a specific cause and this root cause can be effectively treated so that depression can be beaten once and for all.
  6. Change the way you look at these problems – your perspectives. I know from experience that in that moment, stressful illnesses can be overwhelming and you can’t see a way out or how anything good can come of it. But now, I’m glad I had my cleansing and shedding period a long while ago because I’ve come out of my season a hell of a lot stronger than I was going in. I learned how to beat depression and persevere through the very trying circumstances I was faced with (what felt like) every day I opened my eyes. I know how to cope with the various trials and tribulations life throws at all of us. And, those times of depression and anxiety have given me a greater understanding about myself, life, and others. Sure, it was no fairy picnic and I hated every moment of it at the time. But, by getting help and learning how depression had entered and became my life, I grew stronger than my depression and reversed my position. One thing that really helped me was to change the way I thought about what was happening to me. Instead of thinking it was something that no good could ever come from, I looked at it as something that was going to help me to become stronger in the long-term. And, it did!  What helped me to think this way was discovering how many other people in the world used their illnesses and disabilities to do something positive with their lives in helping other people. I realized that the same principle could be applied to stressful and depressive illnesses and situations, and that they, too, can be used in a positive way.

The above points clearly demonstrate that the completely false stigmas associated with depressive and stressful illnesses, generally, come from those ignorant of the subject matter. It also comes from our own perspectives of ourselves – if we sincerely believe we are strong enough to get through it and maintain afterwards. I hope you use them to help you win your fight with depression, anxiety or stress! We are always here to help if you need a helping hand!

Until next time…

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