“Don’t worry. We all get depressed some time or another.” That’s like telling someone with diabetes that everyone has diabetes some time or another. Depression is not just having a blue day. It is a condition that cripples the emotions, ravages the body, and rattles the mind. Medication is often needed to treat it, like medication is needed for a thyroid condition or high blood pressure.
“If you think positively instead of negatively, you can pull yourself out of depression.” A person in clinical depression, as opposed to situational depression, cannot pull himself out of it by thinking positively. It would be like telling someone who has diabetes that if she just thinks positively, she can pull herself out of it. Seriously depressed people have a black fog within them and around them that blankets all aspects of their life in hopelessness and despair. They need help from professionals.
“A lot of people have it so much worse.” This makes a depressed person feel guilty. Why not say to a woman who has just lost her husband to a massive heart attack, “You should count your blessings that he didn’t die a slow and painful death?”
“Happiness is a choice.” Clinically depressed people — regardless of lifestyle, income, gender, location, political or religious views — deal with the same feelings? I’m tired, my life has no meaning, I feel doomed, hopeless, worthless, and I’m not sure how much longer I can do this. Nobody chooses to feel this way. Even a person who has everything you can imagine to make herself happy can be gobbled up by depression. It’s not a choice; it’s a condition.
“You should exercise more.” Exercise is good for depression, but people don’t become depressed because they are lazy and couch potatoes. I know very happy non-depressed couch potatoes who think climbing a flight of stairs is challenge enough.
In 2010, I escaped from four long years of deep, dark depression. This blog shares lessons I learned from those years as depicted in my autobiography - How I Escaped from Depression - as well as other insights about depression and anxiety that only come from someone who has gone through it. When you have a heart attack, you become an expert in heart attacks. When you have diabetes, you become an expert in that condition. As such, I am an expert in depression, with a four-year experiential degree and graduate studies in how to live a life going forward that keeps the ever-lurking Depression at a healthy distance.