The Stigma Around Depression By Layara Speech

    There are so many people who are very uneducated on the topic of depression. Many people suffer with depression, especially in this generation. Too many people think that people “fake” depression for attention, or that they choose to be depressed. No one chooses to be depressed–it’s a mental illness that takes a distinct toll on you mentally, physically, and emotionally.

    There are many factors that could contribute to someone developing depression. For example, a person’s home life could be toxic and harmful, someone close to a person died, they got a divorce, have a chemical imbalance in their brain, etc. Some people do fake having depression for attention, but most people don’t, so don’t downplay anyone’s illness.

    I personally battle with depression, so I know what kind of toll it takes on you firsthand. Depression is a very draining illness to have, and it’s very hard to overcome. Unfortunately, emotions are inherently subjective, so if you yourself haven’t experienced depression, then you won’t know how it feels. You can, however, educate yourself on depression so you could imagine how it would feel, and would be able to notice the signs of someone with depression. Depression and any other mental illnesses shouldn’t be brushed off or seen as frivolous.

    With such an increase in depression over the years, you really have to pay attention to all the people around you. You never know what someone is going through; the signs aren’t always obvious. If someone in one of your classes or at work is not acting like themselves, you need to tell a trusted adult, or ask them yourself if anything is wrong. They could have just not gotten enough sleep the night before, but don’t ever let a possible sign of depression go unnoticed. Young people are the most naive and nonchalant when it comes to stuff like this. If your friend seems really out of it, or they constantly talk about wanting to self harm, take it seriously, try to help them, and call a professional. A lot of teens think that their friend “won’t go through with it”, but are you really going to take that risk and not do something before it’s too late?  Even if a person hasn’t gone through with anything, that doesn’t mean that they won’t.

    Give anyone in your life the support they need if they are battling with depression. Don’t ever think any sign is “too little” to take action on. Tell them you love them, they need to hear that. Tell them you care about them, they need to hear that. Tell them you’ll always be here for them, they need to hear that. Give them all the hugs you can give them, they need the comfort. Tell them that they can always talk to you about anything, they need the reassurance . These people are fighting so hard, be their shoulder that they need. Reassure them, pay attention to them, and get them the help that they need.

Images of PET scans showing normal brain activity (right) and reduced brain activity due to depression (left)

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