When I was younger, I viewed depression as a “linear” mental health disease. I wasn’t from a rich family at all, and the biggest issue for my family was always something to do with finances. We lived in quite a rich neighbourhood but never really fitted in. Throughout school, whenever I went to a friend’s house, they always had a bigger houses and nicer cars. To be honest, I was jealous. I couldn’t comprehend how anyone could ever be depressed if they had these kinds of things. But some of my friends were in-fact depressed. Perhaps it was adolescent ignorance or some sick form of schadenfreude, but I never really took them seriously. In retrospect, I was being a royal knob.
But unfortunately, I wasn’t alone in this ignorant way of thinking. I had a shockingly high number of people agree with me. But for them, it wouldn’t necessarily have anything to do with finances. For them, they couldn’t comprehend that someone could be depressed if they were performing well academically, or if they were popular, or if they were attractive. After a few years at high-school, maybe I grew something between the ears, but I snapped out of this way of thinking. I don’t particularly know when, but it just happened. Unfortunately, a lot of people I know didn’t.
I might be restating the obvious, but I’d like to emphasise how dangerous this attitude towards depression really is. Depression isn’t a disease that discriminates. It can really affect anyone, successful or unsuccessful. Unfortunately, it is the aforementioned way of thinking that really scares anyone from talking about it. As a result, it almost becomes embarrassing to admit that you’re afflicted. Many people try and sweep it under the carpet; they pretend it doesn’t exist, and never address what they are really feeling. This type of behaviour is unsustainable. Everything is relative. Sure, you may have gone through worse and not felt any bit melancholy, but for some, this might be the first time experiencing hardship. We don’t expect everyone’s physical resilience to be identical but too often we expect everyone’s mental resilience to be identical. Success can be viewed in many different perspectives. For some, success is being attractive or rich or popular; it’s all different. I think a lot of the time, many people don’t even realise that they are successful in other people’s eyes or even well-off.
Overall, I think it’s really important to consider how you treat people who suffer from depression. As a mental health issue, it’s very easy to brush it off and devalue the seriousness of the issue; it isn’t a physical ailment that stares you in the face. Nor is there some sort of gauge about the severity of the disease. We should all try and take every case seriously. Like many physical diseases, I think recognition of depression and taking steps to cure depression is important to do, as soon as possible. When people adopt negative attitudes towards depression, it leads to denial and repression; which unfortunately makes it even worse.