Depression is often mentioned but never really discussed. It's a "condition," yet some don't realize it's legitimacy. This failure can lead those who live with it to question if this problem of theirs matters, thus leading to a feeling of guilt and shame. Here are four reasons why you should never be ashamed to talk about depression.
Depression Is More Common Than You May Think
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 16.2 million adults in the United States have felt depressed at least once in 2016, which is 6.7 percent of the adult population or 1 out of every 15 adults. And of this number, people ages 18 to 25 were the most represented group at about 11 percent.
These reported numbers show just how prevalent this illness is--and that's just what it is; depression is an illness. It's a result of chemical imbalances in addition to reactions to stressful life events and possibly other health problems (there could even be gene involvement for some).
Talking Helps; It May Be Essential to Recovery
The NIMH has on record that 63 percent of adults who experienced episodes of depression either saw a health professional (therapists, psychiatrists) only, were prescribed medication alone, or saw a health professional and were prescribed medication. Seeking help is the best thing you can do to combat depression. Unfortunately, some turn to substances for relief, though, this choice always backfires and ultimately comes at a hefty price, like with addiction and alienation (alcohol and recreational drugs can negatively impact relationships).
Of the 63 percent of adults who received professional treatment, according to NIMH, 13 percent of them saw a health professional, which is twice more than those who only received medication. 44 percent both received medication and saw a professional, which means 57 percent of all who received treatment talked about their problems with licensed individuals.
Talking helps find the root of the problem, and if help is sought, someone would be there to explore it with you.
Discussing Your Depression Helps End Stigmas
The National Alliance on Mental Illness believes that words and actions are necessary to end the bullying and discrimination affecting all people with mental illness. Taking these steps can lead to social change and the public rejection of stigmas--it proved successful for other movements, like with the Civil Rights Movement and LGBT activism.
That doesn't mean you have to go out and preach your story to make a change. Merely discussing it with a health professional, or even a friend, makes all the difference, for the afflicted as well as society.
Sharing Your Experience Could Help Others
This can be therapeutic for both sides. Sharing can relieve stress and improve mood while the person who listens may feel inspired to take a look at their own mental health or even share their own experiences.
Choosing to share is a personal choice, so you should never feel pressured or threatened to disclose your depression if you think it might not help your situation.
In the end, depression is an illness. And like other mental illnesses, it's not just black and white, but a sort of grey and sometimes includes blue and purple and red--to put it simply, it's complicated.