“What does she have to be depressed about?”
This comment always gets under my skin!
Yes, I get this comment a lot.
The first time someone is told of my depression, this comment is usually their first reaction.
People don’t make ignorant comments like this to those with other health conditions, such as oh…cancer. That would be highly callous and crude. Cancer survivors get kudos and sympathy, encouragement and toasts to their intestinal fortitude, for coming face to face with death and beating it back to its gate, and live to tell about it.
But for people like me, who look at death every day as a possibility, who plan out each and every detail of how, when and where to commit suicide, we get told to get over it, to think about something else, change our perspective, keep busy so that we don’t give ourselves the time to be depressed.
The worst of all is the outright invalidation. We are told straight to our face by well-meaning friends and family;
“You don’t have depression; there’s nothing for you to be depressed about.
You have a good life!”
Can you imagine saying those things to someone diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, who is looking at death`s door only a few feet away;
“You don’t have cancer, you’re just losing weight.
Think about something else, that will make the pain go away.
Stay busy, don’t give your mind or body the time to have cancer.”
This is why so many people hide their depression; the stigma, the invalidation, the lack of understanding, the ignorance with which people view this illness.
I did NOT ask for this illness, my body created it all on its own, without my consent, without my consult.
Depression is not caused by personal weakness. It is a serious illness, medically acknowledged, and medically treated. I cannot will it away. I cannot wish it away. I cannot meditate it away. Nor can I simply change my perspective; shift my paradigm, and POOF! I am healed.
Image courtesy: World Health Organization
The World Health Organization (WHO) published in 2012, that globally, more than 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression.
My doctor once told me that depression has a fatality rate of 1%. For every 100 people who have depression, 10 of those will attempt suicide, and of the 10 people who attempt suicide, 1 will succeed. Based on this fatality rate and the WHO publication of 350 million people who suffer from depression, then 1% of successful suicides would work out to more than 3.5 million people. That is four times the number of people as published by the WHO earlier this year, quoting a little over 800,000 people, who die from suicide every year.
I don’t know where Dr. W. got his statistics from, but it was enough to stop me on my tracks and make me pull back on my ideas and plans for killing myself. Holy *%*&! Those are real numbers, with real people behind them. This illness is real, with real consequences.
I am not depressed. I have Depression.