by Christian Maciel
Depression is sometimes called the “invisible” disease because you cannot see it through a microscope or medical body scan. How do you fight against an invisible problem? I would think it would be hard. Plus, it is scary to imagine some disease lurking in your brain without being able to operate on it! Although being diagnosed with depression can be scary and daunting, there are some specific myths about depression that all of us must cast aside in order to stand against depression and win.
1. Depression can’t be treated
This myth is one that you absolutely cannot believe. Depression is a challenge, not a death sentence. In fact, as soon as you embrace the possibility that you may be experiencing depression, the better your chances are of learning to manage your depression. As a psychotherapist, and as someone that has dealt with depression personally, it is a battle that can be won. I have personally witnessed many clients of mine overcome the grip of depression and reclaim their life. Put it to the test: talk to any therapist, psychologist and/or even your doctor, and you will hear the same thing: depression is treatable and you CAN overcome it. Do not delay another day. Face it and fight it head on.
2. The only way to treat depression is through medication
Medication can be great for depression. It can definitely relieve many of the symptoms you may be experiencing, but it is definitely not the only way to treat depression. Actually, my experience has shown that only using medication is good for a while, but it does not remedy depression outright. For example, think of a brand new car. This brand new car is wonderful in all aspects. It smells wonderful, it shines beautifully, and it runs crappy. Why? Because it has a bad tire. One, and only one bad tire, can ruin a brand new car. It is the same with depression. You are the new car, but this depression is causing you to run bad. Medication will help fix that tire for a temporary time, but it will not fix the tire for good. There are many therapies used in psychotherapy that can help, in addition with medication, to relieve depression. Believe it or not, therapists are specifically trained to help reconfigure the way you see yourself, the world, your experiences and even your memories so that any depressive ghosts no longer attach themselves to your life.
3. If I’m depressed, there’s something flawed inside me
It is a quirky statement to say that because you’re depressed, you are internally flawed. If you use that same logic and apply it to people who are physically ill, would you say they are flawed too? Sure, they are physically sick, but it does not mean that there is something embarrassing, shameful or dishonorable about them, does it? Yes, some people contribute to sicknesses because of diet, or bad habits, like smoking, but it does not mean that anyone that is sick is an alien invader of the human race and must be ostracized from society. Some people get sick for unknown reasons and sometimes we just don’t know why certain illnesses pop up in our lives. It does not mean you are broken, despicable or unworthy! Having the challenge of depression simply means you have a fight in front of you and that it’s time to lace up the gloves. When you get a cold or a stomach flu, you do things to make it better, right? It is exactly the same with depression. Do something to make it better. Thinking that you are flawed has nothing to do with being depressed and getting out from under its grip.
4. My family can’t help me through depression
This is probably one of the biggest myths about depression. Actually, the opposite of this myth is true. Without your family’s help and support, depression can get worse. Studies on the relationship between depression and family have shown that the support and communication with family can increase self-esteem, a sense of belonging and reciprocal positive interactions. This benefit can only be achieved by having your family learn about your depression and ways in which they can be your greatest entourage and support team. There is nothing in the world as valuable and as powerful as the support and love from family. There are several reasons why family is a great weapon against depression. First, family can demonstrate that there is variety, spice and purpose to life. Second, family can send positive messages to you about life and about you. Positive interactions with family members will help you feel supported, loved and will increase your ability to take care of yourself. Third, family can help you feel like you are connected and that you belong to a group of beings bigger than yourself. More is better in fighting something like depression!
5. My spouse cannot help me through depression
If you happen to be married, or in a committed relationship, then depression could try to stick its ugly hands into the relationship and really cause some havoc. However, you and your partner could unite and fight depression together, instead of allowing it to become a wedge. Actually, studies show that a person can improve simply by being in a relationship where both are working towards actively fighting against depression. On the other hand, improvement is not as good if the depressed individual is going to counseling alone or is fighting depression alone. Again, two are better than one when it comes to depression. Get open about your challenge and get specific recommendations from a licensed therapist on how to turn the tide of your relationship before depression has a firm grip on it.
Dr. Christian Maciel is an author, blogger, professor, marriage and family therapist, and inspirational speaker. His main objective is to awaken God’s possibilities for your life. Check out his website for a free book! www.christiananthonymaciel.com