8 Depression Myths and Facts

The internet is awash with depression myths and facts. I felt I ought to set the record straight about what depression is and what it isn’t. It often amazes me that people promote these myths without finding the facts out first, as some of them are pretty scary. And on the other hand, it could be the older generation who have heard old wives tales about certain things and passed them onto their children who tried to pass them onto theirs.

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I’ve been on the search for as many myths as I can find, and I hope that they will settle your mind about depression and what someone else is going through and if you are suffering from depression, maybe some of the information will make you feel relieved that you are not on a life sentence with it.

Depression is prevalent among society, yet when you ask people what it is, they might say “someone sad” or say, “someone who feels hopeless”. They are true, but there is so much more to it than that, and I hope what I have discovered will help you out somehow.

Depression Myths

The eight myths below are the most common myths I found circulating, and you may have come across some of these yourself.

1. You Would Be Able to Tell if Someone Had Depression By Looking At Them

Nope, not on the surface. Many people with depression still go out to work and earn a living or go to college or school. It is not until you talk to them, you might spot some signs; they might have a monotonous tone to their voice or speak slower than usual. They might also not make eye contact.

But usually, if you don’t know the person, you will not tell if they are depressed. There may be some clues that are good to know, allowing you to be able to offer some words of support. They may exhibit signs of being anxious; they may not eat very much during their lunch break. They could be irritable or even bordering on anger. You may notice they are walking slower, and their head is looking to the ground.

But some people wear a fake persona and try to cover up their depression. I have an article on Toxic Positivity whereby a person will mask their depression by being overly exuberant and joyful when in truth, they are in pain.

2. It Isn’t Real, They Are Just Lazy

depression myths and facts lazy or depressed

This one made me gulp when I read it, and I thought, of course, some people believe this to be the case because they have never suffered from the debilitating nature of depression. On the surface, it can appear as though someone is lazy, but in truth, they cannot perform everyday tasks because of an illness.

Some people even think it is a sign of weakness to be sad and that you need to be stoic in the face of adversity. Still, once again, these are generally toxic positive people, which could be because they are masking their own experience or denying it. Of course, they may have never experienced anything like it before and can not empathise with the situation at all.

If you think you are suffering from depression, speak to your doctor; they help and do not judge. Depression is quite common, and doctors will see numerous patients during the week exhibiting symptoms.

3. Depression Only Affects Females

I was pretty surprised at this depression myth and the fact it is not true. I found myself shaking my head, and once again, we came down to the stoicism viewpoint again.

Depression affects men and women; it also can affect children and teenagers, plus those in the latter years of life. It can affect anyone of all backgrounds and ages. There is no magic immunity passport to avoid it; everyone within their lifetime will know someone who has had it or who has it, if not themselves who has it.

Depression in men is usually exhibited a little different than it is for women and, in contrast, a woman may be more open to discussing it with their doctor; men can sometimes keep things bottled up and express depression as anger or irritability. They may even drink too much or take other substances to deal with how they are feeling. Not to say that women don’t do this too, but it is more common for men. Another sad fact is that the suicide rate among men is four times higher than for women.

If you have symptoms of depression, visit your doctor, you can turn your life around.

4. Depression Will Get Better By Itself

A few people may get better by themselves, but most need help through therapy or medication. If left untreated, it can last for months, and even years, even with treatment. In my case, I once had depression for nigh on five years, which is known as persistent depression.

It is dangerous to leave depression untreated as it could become even more severe than it currently is and could lead to self-harm or a suicide attempt.

Sometimes you are depressed for so long you forget what it feels like to be your old self, and depression becomes your new normal. It shouldn’t be this way, and your doctor can help you move forward in your life by using medication. You might have to try a few, as was my case, but eventually, you will get the right antidepressant to help you.

5. Everyone Gets Depressed Sometimes

a depressed cat on the sofa

There is a difference between depression and saying, “oh, I feel so depressed today.” One is an illness; the other is a bad day. Sadness is an emotion that comes and goes, and yes, we all get sad the same as we can all have happy moments, but depression is a medical fact, not an emotion, and it is not only feeling sad. Many other symptoms go with being depressed, and none of them disappears after a good night’s sleep.

So no, not everyone gets depression.

If your lousy day continues for a few weeks, then go and see your doctor as the length of time will usually mean you have depression or anxiety.

6. Antidepressants Always Work

No, they don’t, not all the time; in many cases, they do, but sometimes another treatment is needed, such as therapy. This comes in all manner of guises from psychoanalytic to [AF] cognitive behavioural therapy. I’ve even written about music therapy and light therapy. They are many other ways to treat depression if the antidepressants aren’t doing their job. Some people are naturally resistant to them, and other people have intense depression, which may even need electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

Another of the depression myths and facts is that you need to be “psychotic” to undergo ECT; this is not the case and is usually reserved for those with persistent drug-resistant depression.

7. If Your Parents Were Depressives You Will Be Too

There is a genetic factor. There is truth in this, but it just means there is a predisposition to the illness, not that you will get it. Depression has many other factors, from societal to environmental and with genetics only being at 40% chance, the rest is governed by outside influences.

It is always good to know your family history regarding ailments and disorders, and depression is the same just in case there is a genetic link in your background. If there is, you do not need to worry that you have depression if you feel OK. You can ward off depression through good nutrition, exercise and reducing stress, it can’t guarantee you total immunity, but it will go a long way to helping you stay depression-free.

8. Depression Only Happens After Bad Life Events

You can become depressed, and nothing untoward has ever happened to you. It was purely chemical when I had the five-year depression; nothing untoward was affecting me; I gradually became more and more depressed.

Sometimes the most joyous of events can trigger depression, such as after the birth of a child; this is called postpartum depression. Other times substance or alcohol abuse play a part. On other occasions, it is pesky hormones to blame.

Of course, you can become depressed after significant upheaval in your life, but that is not the only cause, as you can see above. There are many factors at play; it can be a complicated illness.

In Summary

There are many factors to depression and it comes in many ways, shape or forms. I haven’t covered all the fallacies, but I have talked about the main ones that circulate. I hope they have helped you to understand what depression is and what it is not.

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Lou Farrell

Hi and welcome to Mentriz, where all manner of mental health issues are discussed, from anxiety to bipolar disorder. You can find what you are looking for by using the search function at the top of the screen. All articles are for information purposes and do not replace the advice of a doctor. I hope you find the website helpful and if you have a suggestion, please contact me.

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