What is Depression and how do we possibly explain what it’s like to someone who has never experienced it. Most of the time I feel like people with depression are viewed as either sad, pessimistic, socially awkward or just hard to be around; maybe that’s just my own experience. The difference between depression versus other illnesses, yes its’ an illness, is the minimal outward signs. Because depression is a disease of the mind and not of the body, it goes unnoticed. Most of the symptoms of depression are mistaken for laziness, bad habits, or personality.
For those on the outside trying to understand what depression is, it’s hard to explain the inward battle going on in the mind every day, every hour, virtually every second. When someone is depressed they naturally internalize all interactions and believe they are at fault. This frame of mind is their default setting. One of the toughest aspects of depression is that you can no longer trust your internal thoughts; analysis paralysis with an inaccurate view of reality. How do you explain to someone that your mind isn’t functioning the same, you see the world differently and that it is a constant battle in your head that you are virtually exhausted from and no one has a clue this battle even exists. Never mind the day to day chores, experiences, work and family that you have to maintain on top of this. In most people’s minds if they can’t see it then it doesn’t exist. The statistics on depression are staggering. 25% of all US adults have mental illness, 50% of all adults will develop mental illness in their lifetime, that’s some big numbers. Did you know that mental illness results in more disability than other group of illnesses including cancer and heart disease and yet we are still so ignorant to understanding it.
In most people’s minds if they can’t see it then it doesn’t exist.
So where do we go from here? As your friend, as your advocate as someone who is walking this journey with you I don’t want to leave you there. We must first recognize that being depressed doesn’t make you less, isn’t some sort of punishment and most of all it’s not your fault. You didn’t bring this on yourself. I know it and you need to hold on to that TRUTH. Truth is the key to this battle and the key to winning it. Depression is a constant lie you are trying to overcome and the only way to overcome lies is with truth.
Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. John 8:32