Combat the stigma of depression


feature photo by: Nikki Briggs

Nikki Briggs

More than 350 million people in the world suffers from Depression.  Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. I should know because I was recently diagnosed with severe depression.
I tell you this not for attention but for intention.  Have you ever had someone look down on you for something you can’t control? I have; it’s like he or she is trying to make me feel like a terrible person for having such an illness.
Well, there’s this thing called stigma: a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality or person. It took me a while to realize what these marks of disgraces were. However  when I attended group therapy, those marks of disgrace were given the name stigma.   And when I did, I knew what they were and noticed there’s a lot of stigmas about depression.
One particular opprobrium can make me feel like, no one would care if I’d drop dead the second after they told me. It includes the most horrible three words “get over it.”
Depression is not something a person can just snap out of. It is a medically diagnosed disease of which I and other patients should not be ashamed but this is hard to avoid when you are surrounded by people who think you are able to “get over it.” Depression is one of the most stigmatized diseases, but in reality it is still a disease and should be treated like one.
Can you imagine how awful people would look if they told a cancer patient to “get over it”? You can’t get over cancer. A process has to occur to get rid of, or shrink the disease. Depression is the same as cancer in a way. It’s a diseases in the brain that takes medication and therapy to fix. In third grade I had a friend who’s a cancer survivor. She told me about surgeries that she had to have and the chemotherapy that she had to have so  the doctors slowly shrink her cancer.
Now that I’m older, I’ve come to realized that we have a lot in common. I too have a disease, but it’s in my brain. And I also have to have therapy so the therapist can reduce my depression. There for stigmatizing any disease is pointless, because at the end of the day they’re still all serious illnesses.
My least favorite remark is “attention seeker.” I don’t understand how a person with a mental illness is an attention seeker. Plus, don’t we all need attention? That answer to my question was yes, and let me tell a little story to explain why.
Once in fifth grade my doctor said I needed to have my tonsils removed. The surgery didn’t go well so I had to recover a while longer. I was in pain, but my sisters would check on me, and my mother fed me ice cream. I could see concern in all of their eyes. They all made sure I was eating all right and taking my medicine.
What my family gave me was attention. They gave me extra attention because I was ill and I needed it. But aren’t people with depression ill, too? It is called a mental illness, so what’s wrong with needing a little extra attention?
I’m sure we’ve all had that childhood moment when we got a “boo-boo” and mommy had to make it all better. The only difference with depression is that boo-boo is on the inside which can make it 10 times worse.
Even though stigmas are bad, there’s is a reason they exist. And one of those reason his society’s lack of knowledge and not acknowledging depression as an actually disease. This causes people to believe that depression is an feeling or adjective. I hear people say, “I’m so depressed” as if you just throw around mental illnesses. It’s OK to say you’re sad but, but to say you have a mental illness is pretty misleading.
Have you ever heard just say “I have diabetes ” without being diagnosed? .But  Have you ever look down on you for something they can’t control? That’s called a stigma. We shouldn’t judge someone by their disease all diseases are the same, and can have a major effect on the patience. It crucially for everyone to learn about the seriousness of depression as well as other mental illnesses and stop treating them like adjectives.