5 Common Myths of Depression Debunked
0:08 – 1st Myth – Depression is a Disease
1:11 – Having depression for life?
1:20 – 2nd Myth – Depressed People Have Low Willpower
2:12 – How to Describe Depression to a Person
2:41 – Depression Robs you of Willpower
3:28 – 3rd Myth – All You Need is a Pill
4:16 – Does Paxil Cure Vitamin D Deficiency?
4:40 – Antidepressants are a Bigger Decision Than We Think
5:12 – 4th Myth – Labeling it as Depression will Help You
5:40 – Does Feeling Bad Mean You are Getting Depressed?
6:59 – 5th Myth – You Just Need to Meditate/Pray
7:57 – Spiritual Practice is Good, But Still Conquer The Root Cause of Depression
It is a “Disease”
Depression is NOT a disease. It is a condition. A sign that you need a change. It CAN improve, you CAN reduce relapses, you CAN get better. I was depressed for 11 years! I still experience some deep sadness, but never to the point where I become unable to function for weeks at a time like I used to.
There are so many causes for depression it is mind blowing. Start attacking those first before you label yourself with a disease.
Here are just a few things off the top of my head that can cause depression:
- Sleep Deprivation
- Poor Nutrition
- Digestion Problems
- Low Testosterone
- Thyroid Issues
- Lack of Exercise
- Lack of Meaningful Relationships
- Side Effects from Medications
- Stressful Life Events
- Faulty Mood Regulation by the Brain
- Negative Downward Spiral of Thoughts
Even if your depression is a chemical imbalance in your brain unrelated to any other areas of your body, hormones, etc. it can still be solved with the right medications.
Depression is tricky because once you are “there” it warps your thoughts to make you think that it cannot be solved. You think it is there “for life” and you are screwed.
I’m not going to spend my life being depressed and neither are you. However, when you try something and think you’ve found the answer, only to crash a few weeks later, over and over again, it is easy to start to believe those thoughts.
I believed them for many years. It is scary to think how close and how much I thought about ending my life during those times. In reality, it likely could have happened. Sometimes I’m not quite sure why it didn’t.
I know if you are depressed and reading this it won’t quite register. That’s okay. Keep pushing forwards, try to regain any possible hope that you have, ask for help, and do whatever it takes to find what you need.
One person may need medication, another may need to adjust their nutrition, another may need to learn to relax and bring down the stress. Others, like me, may need a combination of proper nutrition, exercise, sunlight, relaxation, 8+ hours of sleep every night, healthy relationships, awareness of negative thought patterns, a deeper purpose, ability to express oneself, and a few supplements.
If you still want to believe it is a disease, at least know that it can be cured.
Depressed People Have Low Willpower
Although depression isn’t a “disease,” it is still a very real condition.
People who say that you need to “shake it off” or “snap out of it” either have never actually known someone closely with depression or have never come close to experiencing it themselves.
You can’t blame them for thinking that. When they hear you say you are depressed they hear “I am feeling a little down today” when in reality what you said was, “I’ve wanted to blow my head off for the past 2 weeks but don’t even have enough energy to do that.”
If you have never experienced depression your reality may not be able to stretch far enough to understand. That’s understandable too.
I went skydiving when I was depressed and felt nothing. I landed and didn’t even care. On the drive home I was still miserable. For my friend, that was probably the biggest buzz kill he had ever experienced in his life to drive home with someone after skydiving that didn’t even get stimulation from falling through the sky.
Depression robs you of all your energy. It’s hard to have any willpower left when you had to use it all just to get over the pain of putting your clothes on and the anxiety of talking to the cashier to buy your food.
If you have depression, you need to stop being so hard on yourself. It is okay. You are not a bad person, you just are. Depression does not mean you are weak. If anything, if you come out of depression, you are stronger than the average person who never had to.
When you finally attack that depression, overcome it, and start to relax on the other side you will have an experience that most people will never be able to touch. You will appreciate and understand just how temporary and beautiful this life is because it could always be worse with depression.
Yes, ultimately you are responsible for the quality of your life, but if you are depressed it’s important to accept that it isn’t because of some moral flaw. You need rest, sleep, food, healthy people and time to allow your brain to heal. You need support, professional help, etc.
Depression can grab a hold of you by making you feel terrible and keep you feeling terrible by you believing you are a bad person for feeling terrible. Depression’s great complexity comes from the fact that it reinforces itself.
You feel bad, so you start to feel bad that you feel bad, causing you to feel worse.
It’s a trap and hard to get out of. Sometimes reality becomes warped. Thoughts you have while depressed are not real and do not reflect what is really going on.
You are not a bad person with low willpower when you don’t enjoy being with your family or kids anymore. You have a condition causing you to feel that way and there are certain treatments that can help.
All You Need is a Pill to Feel Better
Again, there is so many causes for depression. Being born prozac deficient doesn’t seem to be one of them, but if you’ve tried everything and an antidepressant works for you long-term, I’m not recommending against it. I’m just saying you should still consider the other options.
Giving someone Paxil when they sleep 3 hours a night, eat at McDeath 4x a day, cram themselves full of ice cream and hang out with toxic people everyday, is counterproductive.
Yes, you CAN have a chemical deficiency. But even if you are taking an antidepressant I would strongly recommend working on areas of your life such as physical health, relationships, etc. while on it.
If you take care of yourself, get enough sleep, like your job/business, have great friends and live a good life yet STILL feel depressed, antidepressants might be your ticket. This is when a pill is really all you need to feel better.
If you eat junk food all day, stay up till 2am and work at a job you hate at 6am for 12 hours everyday, an antidepressant isn’t going to be your long-term solution.
It’s important to realize that an antidepressant is a much bigger decision than our society would lead you to believe. I had a hell of a time trying to get off mine.
Antidepressants can help you and may be necessary. But before you take the plunge and start taking a pharmaceutical pill everyday make sure you discuss the side-effects, weigh the long-term consequences and really make sure it is the right decision for you.
Labeling it as “Depression” will Help You
Saying you “have” depression can help if you are in denial of your feelings. However, if you accept the way you feel, it’s best to not think of yourself as having “depression.”
I used to always think to myself, “Uh oh, I’m getting depressed again. I’m screwed. Its going to be a rough ride” and I’d feed the beast. It would lead to a downward spiral of me being so depressed that all I could focus on was being depressed, and focusing so much on being depressed that I was becoming depressed.
It is okay to feel bad. Now, what is causing these feelings? Are you isolated? Lonely? Have you been getting enough sleep? Food? Time with people you love?
I haven’t had a serious relapse of depression in years. Whenever I feel myself slipping, I take a step back and try to really think about what I need in that moment, that my feelings are indicating something such as that I need rest or a fun night out with friends, rather than that I am now becoming depressed and am screwed.
Take the first signs of your mood turning sour as signs that you need to take action (or inaction) in an area of your life. Maybe you just need to sit and be with yourself for a moment. Maybe you need to assert yourself with your friend who was disrespectful to you.
Thinking that you have depression is a great excuse to allow it to overwhelm you. Instead of thinking that depression is this monster that will overwhelm me and take me for a ride and there’s nothing I can do about it, I view it as something happening to me with clues as to what is causing this reaction.
Sometimes this is even a good thing. It wouldn’t help you out if you couldn’t feel physical pain. How would you ever know if your hand was resting on an oven and doing irreversible damage? Physical pain is a sign that you need to make a change to help yourself.
I now view depression in the same way. Maybe I am starting to feel depressed because I am working at the same job that I hate for too long and I am trying to signal to myself it isn’t working. Maybe I’m feeling depressed because I’ve been staying up past 2:00am and waking up at 8:00am every day.
Surely the depression doesn’t feel good, but if the depression is actually telling me to get some sleep, it saves me from being sleep deprived for 10 more years, which could increase the likelihood of me not-dying.
You Just Need to Meditate/Pray
This is another controversial one. I have used meditation to help me tremendously, but it isn’t a cure-all either.
This is tricky because while I want to advocate taking control by taking the action necessary to achieve what you want rather than waiting for someone or something else to do it for you, I do understand that this might have a special place in people’s lives.
Meditation and praying is good, but thinking it will solve everything can lead to more problems. If it doesn’t work, it could cause you to think you are depressed because you are immoral. If you are meditating or praying and still not getting better, does that mean you lack faith? Are you a bad person after all?
I once meditated during an entire summer for 2 hours a day. I did feel great. I did still get depressed.
This can be an important area of your life, but it is important to realize that it is an area of your life.
If you have found yourself having a hard time overcoming depression it is likely because it is complex and affects many aspects of your life. It is important to not rule out factors such as sleep and eating the right foods.
Meditate and pray if that works for you. Then eat a healthy meal afterwards, and go to bed :).