Defined as a condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason.
This is a condition that as much as people would like to state is a condition that they understand and do not treat people who suffer from it any differently – they are lying.
As a person that was diagnosed with Depression a year ago, I have been living with it since and when the people in my life discovered the diagnosis, it was chaos. None of them knew how to handle it or how to treat me (they still don’t). I have discovered that the average person reacts to depression in one of two ways:
1. Treat you as if you are made of glass and will break any second.
2. They try to “fix” you by telling you what you should be doing to “get better” – like it is the Common Cold.
What they all have in common is that they start to scrutinize every decision that you make and the way you live your life and formulate ideas in their minds as to how you can fall back into your “Condition” as they love to call it.
Imagine having your problems shown to the world – it is like suddenly you have been stripped of al your skin and everyone can inspect your insides. This is not a pleasant feeling. At all.
I found a poem that reminds me of how people treat you when they discover that you suffer from Depression – it is like you have already disappeared – as if it is a contagious disease and people no longer see you but the “Condition” in everything that you do:
DO NOT STAND AT MY GRAVE AND WEEP
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hushI am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft star-shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there;
I did not die.
MARY FRYE (1932)
So in conclusion and to get to the point of this blog post, people with Depression are not contagious, they do not need to be scrutinized and judged and they are not going to break at the slightest problem. We are stronger than you think. It could be you one day. Most people deal with Depression at least once in their lifetime, so be understanding and open-minded to those that you meet with the “Condition”.
“Depression is not sobbing and crying and giving vent, it is plain and simple reduction of feeling…” Judith Guest