Is Depression Real?
Is depression real? Nowadays, the word “depressed” gets thrown around a lot. People, especially the younger ones, often comment that they are feeling ‘depressed’ when they fail exams, have a breakup, or simply going through the motions of life.
The truth is, depression holds more weight than just having negative life experiences. Yes, experiences can be a trigger, but depression is something beyond feeling the blues when something unfavorable happens. In fact, this misconception often leads many to ignore the signs of depression when it is actually happening. In this post, we will be debunking the myths about depression and uncovering the truth to spread awareness.
Is Depression Real? Debunking the Myths
Have you ever heard the term, “It’s all in your head?” Unfortunately, some backward views on depression are associated with this statement. When someone has a potential of being clinically depressed, misinformed friends and family are quick to say that it’s just a matter of the mind.
Depression is an illness that has psychological, biological, and emotional components. Some of the depression symptoms that are biological in nature include:
- Inability to sleep (Insomnia)
- Drastic weight changes
- Low energy
Since some cases of depression can also be explained by chemical imbalances in the brain, these imbalances can translate to problems in one’s energy, sleep patterns, and overall health. Not to mention, depression can also be a gateway to other problems in one’s life, such as relationship troubles, and the development of other mental health issues such as substance abuse.
Depression is a Part of Life
Life is a rollercoaster of emotions, but saying that depression is a usual part of life is a total myth. There are moments when people experience grief or anger because of negative experiences, but people who have no depression can heal and recover.
Those who are clinically depressed can experience extreme bouts of low mood even without triggers at all. In fact, one of the signs of depression is when someone experiences feelings of sadness or hopelessness for long periods of time. This is not a normal part of life, and one need not to unnecessarily suffer in silence due to this myth.
As mentioned, depression isn’t just caused by devastating life events. In some cases, it can be partly biological, such as in Post Partum Depression (PPD) or brain injuries. In these cases, the part of the brain controlling hormones or thought-feeling processes is affected.
Is Medicine the Only Solution?
Although many antidepressants help to relieve depression symptoms, it is not the end-all-be-all of solving this mental health issue. There are many alternative solutions for managing depression, such as:
- Psychotherapies: DBT, CBT, Family therapy, Experiential therapy, etc.
- Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
- Support groups
- Lifestyle changes
- Self-Help strategies
- Nutrition and exercise
The management options for depression often work hand-in-hand to help patients overcome the disease. It is common for people to start with medication and go through psychotherapies and TMS sessions regularly as a care procedure.
Antidepressants shouldn’t be overused and should be taken only upon the advice of a doctor. Medications should also be used with the right prescription as well to avoid negative side effects.
Some are open to the idea that depression is real, but they think that the symptoms of it are the same for all people.
Depression has some genetic factors, but the way they appear for people can vary broadly. Some people may be functionally depressed, which means that they can go on with their life responsibilities but suffer immensely during their private moments. Others can have co-occurring problems such as eating disorders. There are people who also feel “numb” or emotionless but can be diagnosed as depressed.
Since the factors for depression in each individual is diverse, what it looks like for one may be different from another. We have to accept that the degree and kind of depression that someone experiences may not be the same as those usually portrayed in popular media as well.
Does Depression Make You Weak?
People who get sad all of the time are always thought of as being “weak” or “soft”. This especially hits men because of the toxic masculine ideology that men shouldn’t wear their hearts on their sleeve.
That belief is dangerous because it prevents people from seeking help even when they are truly in need. Depression isn’t an emotional weakness–it is an actual disorder with a biological, psychological, and mental component. Just like when you don’t tell someone who has cancer to ‘get over it’, you also don’t tell people who suffer from depression that they are emotionally weak.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, middle-aged men are more likely to commit suicide than any other demographic. This goes to show that all of us need to instill a different mindset and awareness about what depression really is, rather than telling people to hide their condition to avoid appearing weak.
The Real Question to Answer
Hopefully, this article helps answer the question, “Is depression real?” Now, the real question to answer, especially if you or a loved one is suffering from depression is, “What should I do about depression?”
Aside from medications and psychotherapies, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is one of the great ways you can manage the symptoms of depression. It is considered safe, non-invasive, and beneficial for those who haven’t responded well to conventional treatments.
TMS is a revolutionary procedure that targets the lateral prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain that may function less when someone is depressed. By targeting the area without actually having to undergo surgery, many patients have experienced dramatic results, especially when used alongside therapy or medications.
If you are interested in learning more about TMS treatment, reach out to us today and see how we can help.