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Reclaiming the Stigma

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As we move through our lives, we are left with a stark reminder of the way we felt and what we went through. Misunderstandings don’t always end when our depression symptoms ease. Having an open and honest discussion about it today still causes people to feel uncomfortable. No one knows what to say. We are exposed to sideways glances, confused looks, denial of, and avoidance of discussing what it that’s right in front of them.

It shouldn’t be difficult to accept. The number of people that go through this is staggering. It only makes sense that everyone is informed about what to look out for.

 

For Depression Sufferers

Keep the discussion alive. This is how we all learn. Remember that the more we can share about our experiences, the more it can benefit others who may be going through similar situations. It may also help non-depression sufferers to fully understand what is happening to us. Having someone – even just one person – listen to you makes all the difference.

Remember another thing as well. Not many are given the opportunity to confront their lives and actively change it. For some, they wake up years and years later, realizing that the path that they have chosen is unfulfilling. Many follow through with change later in life. I applaud those who do. It takes courage. They are fighting for their happiness. This is your chance to work towards that goal as well. Reclaim what you want. Now that you are facing your worst enemy (yourselves), you can brush off the opinions of everyone else.

 

For those who know someone going through this

First, we still wish to be respected. Silencing and downplaying our unhappiness will not help us at all. The best that I can advise you to do is offer support. Ask the person what they need from you. Opening up to someone is a difficult thing to do. This person has amassed all of their courage to come to you. Don’t dismiss it. Listen. Most of the time, we aren’t really seeking solutions.

Be aware of the following warning signs:

  • Self-isolation – the person no longer has the desire to socialize, spend time with friends, or leave the home
  • Decreased motivation – jokingly or not, the person constantly says how they are too tired to do anything. They don’t want to do anything requiring an exertion of energy (of any kind). They are exhausted by performing at the bare minimum levels, unable to focus on anything.
  • Changes in mood (mood swings) – they are quick to anger or get irritated, often without warning (as far as the other person is concerned. Internally, there are reasons aplenty)
  • Changes in diet – so this is harder to detect. Basically, watch for overeating or undereating
  • Insomnia – if someone complains about prolonged restless nights, it may be a sign of depression
  • Jokes about suicide – several jokes about this could be an indication that the person is trying to gauge your reaction. I know that this is becoming more common-place (which, for the record, I believe harms actual depression sufferers) but it is still worthwhile to start a discussion.
  • Self-harm – this goes beyond your common wrist-slashing. There are so many ways to inflict harm upon oneself. If you notice peculiar scratches, cuts, or bruises talk about it. For instance, I used to keep a safety pin tied to an elastic band that I wore around my wrist. I would use the safety pin to inflict harm (it was a stepping stone into actual cutting). Something like this could be prevented by questioning it.

 

P.S.:  I would like to sincerely apologize for the lack of posts as of late. I am actually still on vacation! The opportunities to sit down and just write something are so scarce. I will try to make more time and get the information out as best as I can. Thank you all for your patience!

 

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