Just the other day, I was on a Major search engine site, looking for possible topics to write on. Not that my creative well has run dry, but there are days where getting anything on paper is a job and a half. Having these days where the literary juices are just not flowing is a bane to writers everywhere. Many people have their own ways to deal with said days, and mine is perusing my local search engine for hot topics that I might be able to put my hat into. You could not imagine what I saw when I typed in “Depression Is” and let the search engine fill in the rest. The first, of course, was “Depression is Real,” and I said to myself, “Bravo, glad to see that the first result is something so relevant.” However, the next few items that I saw severely upset me. I know that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I even support differing opinions on subjects as it causes a greater discussion to take place. Unfortunately, when it comes to mental health, I am much less in favor of differing opinions, at least when it comes to the validity of the topic. The words that I saw, pretty high up on the list, were “Depression is a choice” and “Depression isn’t real.” The fact that these were even in the high ranking results still boils my blood. Of course, I didn’t click on the links to see what kind of articles there were, and I genuinely hope that the majority of them were discounting those very phrases.
For those that suffer from depression, like me, hearing that all the pain and suffering we experience is just made up, is infuriating. The fact that there are actually people that believe that Mental Illnesses are fictionary baffles me. Depression, like all mental illness, comes in many shapes and sizes. It can take years or just days to diagnose your mental illness based solely on the symptoms that you show. For many people, the suffering they have felt is all too real. Whether it be the emptiness and lows of depression, the peaks, and valleys of Bipolar, the fear, and terror behind PTSD, or even the stress and pressure of Anxiety; the pain we all feel differs between each of us. This, of course, does not make it any less real than those yet to be diagnosed.
Every so often I see the same gif on the internet of a forest and a bottle of pills. If you’ve seen it, you probably know which one it is that I am talking about. The top portion of the woods shows the words, “This is an Antidepressant,” which for some people it is, and I do not discount that fact. The bottom half though, shows a bottle of pills falling over with the words “This is a lifelong addiction.” That really, every single time I see it, just makes me lose my head for a minute. I want to grab whoever made that and scream at them, knowing full well that it won’t solve a single thing. A similar image that surfaces every once in a while is the one below:
Similar to the gif, this image discounts the use of medication as a treatment method, in preference of nature. Like I said, nature is great and all, but it won’t help me to not kill myself!
I love being outside, camping, living off the land, its great; and it does help alleviate some stress and sadness. Yet, it’s not a long-term thing, it will not help me every single day for the rest of my life; whereas, the medication will do just that. Sure, I agree that it will technically be a lifelong addiction, but it will keep me alive. That’s like telling someone with diabetes that they’re just addicted to taking insulin. See the craziness here?
Depression is real, so is Anxiety, PTSD, Bipolar 1&2, BPD and a whole bunch of other mental illnesses. So please, do not discourage taking medication that will save our lives. Please do not tell us to cheer up because other people have it worse. Please do not stigmatize the discussion of mental health. Please just listen, and let us live our lives the best way we can.
See more from me here: The Smiles We Bear