At some point in our lives, we all feel sad, tired and maybe even hopeless – it’s part of life rgss202j.dll. But for people with mood disorders like depression or bipolar disorder, they don’t just experience these feelings now and then. While most of us bounce back from a bad time on our own, there are others who need more help with therapy and medication.
It can be hard to tell anyone that you are dealing with a mood disorder. You may be afraid of what they will think or how they might treat you.
Myths, Mistaken Ideas and Stigma
Let’s look at the most common mistaken beliefs that surround both depression and bipolar disorder. These could be any of the following:
- Someone with depression is hard to talk to; they feel different from the way I do and therefore cannot communicate normally
- Someone with bipolar or depression is unpredictable and won’t interact with me as they usually would
- Someone with a mood disorder is dangerous and according to society, “has lost it”;
- People with depression should be able to pull themselves together and ‘get over it’
- Mood disorder patients don’t have a “real” condition; they’re personally responsible for their problems
- People with mood disorders are any of the following: incompetent; attention-seekers; shameful; have no self-control; are a bad influence on others; weak; deceptive; losers or lazy.
You Can Change This
You may not be able to educate everyone you meet regarding the truths behind depression or bipolar disorder, but you can certainly change the perceptions of some. More importantly, you can gain skills that help you to deal with ignorance if you happen to run into it.
- Build up immunity. Try not to take it personally when someone says something silly about depression. Reacting to thoughtless or cruel comments can just land you in a pointless argument or awkward situation.
- Use science. The cure for ignorance is neurobiology. Talk to your doctor and do a little research on the scientific facts behind depression and bipolar disorder. When people bring up odd myths about the condition, introduce some basic facts and have a conversation.
- Use your story. Your own experience is beyond valuable: don’t expect everyone to understand it, but no-one can disagree with your personal story.
- You can walk away. If the situation is pointless and the person you’re dealing with doesn’t want to know or is being hurtful, remember: you can walk away. Walk away.
No matter what anyone else may think, learn about your condition for yourself. Clinical depression is a medical condition, just as asthma or heart disease are conditions, and you will benefit from understanding it. Don’t get confused by too many opinions online – run what you read past your doctor and discuss your treatment options. Most important: the fact that you’re facing the challenges of depression means that you are brave!