Depression is not big sadness

I once had a migraine. Just one, thank goodness. I was 12 years old. I was reading the paper and gradually, I became blind except for some blurred images in my peripheral vision. What followed was truly awful. I’ve had the odd bad headache since but nothing compared to that. A migraine is not a bad headache. I see that now.

So, what about depression. To those who’ve not experienced it, it must be just feeling really, really sad right? Wrong. When we are sad, it is usually about something and eventually the sadness lifts. Depression may start off about something like a death or loss of a job but it can also happen for no reason that we can see. It is a mental illness that robs us of our enjoyment of anything. We cannot think straight. We have no energy (or in some cases, so much energy that we cannot relax) and often, the thought of not existing seems the only way to get rid of the constant pain that is depression.

Last year, fashion designer and entrepreneur Kate Spade, and chef and TV host Anthony Bourdain committed suicide. When we hear about a celebrity committing suicide, we can feel confused. How could they do this when they had fame and fortune? It challenges what we think we know about depression and we get angry. How ungrateful they must be. This though, says less about the person who died and more about the person thinking this. If fame and fortune stopped people feeling depressed, then no celebrities would commit suicide.

People who seem to “have it all” can often feel guilty themselves about being depressed. They can share the same prejudice as others and turn it on themselves. But no-one would say, “why has he got cancer? He’s rich and famous”. Just like cancer, depression does not discriminate.

So next time you hear about someone with depression, spend a moment to try to understand the pain they are suffering. If you are suffering from it yourself, try to lose the guilt. You didn’t choose it and you are a hero for getting through each day.  And if you’ve never had a migraine, it’s not a bad headache.

If you are experiencing depression, please get in touch to find out how I can help you.

Leave a Reply