Thursday, November 18, 2004

Brazen Disclosure (or Why I Can't Keep a Secret About Myself)

Call me evil, but I get a major kick out of people’s reactions when I tell them that I have Major Depressive Disorder. [I should interject that I actually have Bipolar II Disorder with Depressive features, but that takes too long to explain during most superficial conversations. If you, Reader, would like more information about the distinction, click here or better yet, here.] Following are some of the more deliciously ignorant, annoying, or basically lame responses I’ve heard:

  • You? Depressed? Why, you always seem so happy and positive! What are you depressed about?
  • You just need to find a hobby/go shopping/get more exercise, etc. (known in the MH community as “bootstrap syndrome”)
  • Oh, I know what you mean! I was so depressed yesterday, I thought I would just die!
  • You need to get off all those meds—that’s what’s really making you feel so bad.
  • Poor thing! Just remember that this too shall pass. That’s what I always say to myself when I get depressed and it always makes me feel better!
  • If you tried a little harder to act happy, you might find it a little easier to be happy.
  • Get over it. Everyone gets the blues sometimes.
  • You should check out that show on Sunday morning--what is it now?-- the Hour of Power. I swear, nobody could be depressed after hearing that wonderful man talk!
  • Yeah, sure you have depression. That’s just what the shrinks and the pharmaceutical companies want you to believe so they can keep soaking up your hard-earned money.

If you have ever reacted to someone with Depression in a way similar to one or more of the above, you have some educatin’ to do. You need it, because you can’t imagine how much you’re hurting others (probably unintentionally) with your ignorance. Stay tuned to 2 hot chiks for some heavy duty enlightenment.

(In the meantime, check out this link for hard facts about this devastating disorder:


At 2:04 PM, Blogger Kay said...

How about when they say, "ohh," and back away uncertainly, like you just told them you have cooties?

At 2:15 PM, Blogger Lu said...

Good one, Kayten! Just makes you wanna reach out and grab 'em, doesn't it?!!

At 2:27 PM, Blogger audrey said...

All righhhhhhhty!!! Love this blog and feel lucky to have found it.

Yup - my own sister gave me the stupidist response to my own bout of depression "well you don't want to be like T who I work with, with taking those drugs - it made her worse than anything. Just be like me and act like you are better than everyone else and no one will know". Yeah, well,er, I like to pretend we aren't related. (most days I am positive mom lies about my beginnings)

Rock on girls!

At 7:25 PM, Blogger modgurl said...

Most people are ignorant about depression and the few who know about it don't know how to react to it. Depression is on the rise and yet most people think it's just a phase like PMS or something. I feel sad for these people.

(from a 24 year old girl-woman who's been battling depression since she was 16)

At 9:00 PM, Blogger theresa said...

New one: "You don't really believe in that shit do you?"
Well, I don't know asshole. I suppose I do since I've been a mental health professional for years, and I've also been diagnosed and treated successfully. Life got better for me after treatment, but I'm not sure if there's a DSM diagnosis for those who are judgemental and clueless.

At 11:58 AM, Blogger Lu said...

Audrey: Thanks for the support. Perhaps you can encourage your sister to read this blog???

Modgurl: Ignorance is a sad thing, isn't it? I do think things are changing, though. I was actually glad to see that Zoloft commercial--I think it might validate the existence of Depression, Social Phobia, and Anxiety Disorder. Even those people who don't pay attention or consciously acknowledge the commercial might get the message subliminally. It's a start.

(re: your diagnosis--hang in there. There are lots of treatment alternatives and more being added all the time (which I'll be talking about on this site). And the fact that you were diagnosed so young is very good--treatments seem to be more effective and prognosis is better with younger people.)

Sometimes I think Depression is almost harder for our loved ones than it is for those of us who suffer from it. After all, they put up with our mood swings, try to be empathetic to feelings and thoughts they haven't had themselves, and have to guess about the right things to say, all without medication!

At 8:27 PM, Blogger modgurl said...

Lu, I think it's that stigma of depression being a mental illness that makes people resistant to accept depression is real. Personally, I don't think depression can be "cured". It's just like a common cold.

At 7:41 AM, Blogger Lu said...

modgurl: You're right, Depression can't be cured, but it can be treated. With proper treatment, the ill person needn't go through all the pain and suffering of an episode. For some people, this means that they can continue to go to school, to keep their jobs, and even to stay alive (suicide is the #1 killer of teenage girls, for example). Also, many people only have one Depressive episode during their lives--does that mean that they're cured?

I think that comparing Depression to Diabetes is more accurate: ignoring it and not getting treatment could kill you.


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