Well, I’ve had enough of this. It is one of the things that can piss me off big time as a psychologist. Any fellow psychology student or professional will understand.
Ever come across people that use, or conversation where, the words or terms “depression”, “bipolar”, “crazy psychos” just pop up out of thin air? Or better yet, when they refer to us professional psychologists as “crazy doctors”?
This could be actually a shiny moment of mine — I want to punch them straight in the face. The most common word wrongly used or mentioned, is depression. A person is sad for losing their damn pencil and all of a sudden they call it depression. A girl doesn’t buy the exact lipstick shade like the one Kim Kardashian has and she is “soooo depressed!”. I guess the same thing goes when the hair color is a failure too.
The moment I hear this, every inch of my body wants to throw any psychology book I have at your head. Needless to say, every famous figure of the department of psychology wishes you the worst — and if dead, their body is tossing and turning in their grave.
And a unicorn dies. Yes, every time you mention depression, every time you wrongly use such serious term, a poor unicorn dies. That’s how heartless you are. And by the way — If every unicorn dies because of you—you’re on my black list. Period.
Sadness, despair, disappointment or even heartbreak are very different from depression. Mostly because their symptoms vary in their expression according to time and duration. I know… when you’re sad, you don’t care about your looks, food, Pilates class or even going out with your friends. You don’t answer your phone, you and your tears become best friends; along with your pillow and your couch. I get that. I’ve been there.
The thing is, that is sadness. And trust me when I say to you that when you’re sad we both deeply know that in one month or two –or even three– you’ll be better. You’ll feel better and the blues will offer you their sincere goodbye.
I wouldn’t say that for a depressed person – especially if they are diagnosed with a severe case. You might think that you have the same things going through your mind and that you totally understand them but, trust me, you don’t.
Really, you don’t.
You see, real depression is not a temporary state. It does not come on due to every day pressure or one mishap, but rather by a number of unfortunate circumstances that are beyond a person’s ability to deal with and fight. Some are just more resilient than others, and some take things deeper to heart. But depression is a state you are submerged in, something like trying to swim in a deep, and rough, sea and not being able to keep your head above water for more than a few seconds at a time. It’s a permanent state, one that a person must battle with every day, most hours of that day, and after a long time of this internal war, may be able to say that they have gotten past their darkest time. You learn to deal, but you can almost never get over the thoughts completely.
The similar thoughts you think you have -you who are sad not depressed- cross your mind for a mere second — or a few minutes at max. And you don’t take yourself seriously at that moment, you’re already thinking that you’re being a bit overdramatic. But the same thoughts for a truly depressed person aren’t only an idea that crosses their mind. It’s their reality, and it’s probably the most honest thing they’ve ever felt in their lives.
Have you ever been caught in your past, I mean really caught in it? Have you ever come across the word rumination? Because this is what I want you to understand. You tend to think about your past, but still the time you do it is limited – and in one way or another, you’ll stop doing it eventually. In depression, this isn’t the case. This rumination thing, this “living in the past” thing, is an everyday kind of thing. And when you’re depressed, when you’re deep in a diagnosed case of depression, even if you try to escape it, you can’t.
This is why the words “snap out of it” won’t work in these kind of cases.
So, next time you use the word depression, please think about it very carefully. I guess it is the psychologist in me, but –honestly?– I think you’re insulting all the people that have it and are battling it each day; with everything they’ve got.
And that isn’t fair, especially when, in a month or two, you’ll standing on your feet again, taking selfies and uploading them on social media, smiling and drinking your mojito at the beach, while someone else is still battling with the real thing.