Updated: Sep 30, 2020
Nearly 800,000 people worldwide committed suicide last year. While we intensely grieve those we have lost, we also celebrate those who are still with us, those who are on a path to overcoming their struggles. Depression might make you feel all alone, but the numbers should encourage you that this battle includes many other people- often people around you that are waiting to join forces with you.
How many people have depression?
According to the DBSA (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance), 17.3 million adults are struggling with depression in the United States alone, and 1.9 million children under the age of 18 have been diagnosed. These numbers do not include the people who have not been diagnosed. If we combine these numbers, we have nearly 20 million people in our country alone who are struggling with depression, and surely thousands of others who are afraid to speak about it.
Do you have depression?
While depression can look vastly different with each person, here are the most common symptoms:
-Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
-Loss of interest in daily activities
-Appetite or weight changes
-Sleep changes, including lack of sleep or oversleeping
-Anger or irritability
-Loss of energy
-Self-loathing or feelings of worthlessness
-Unexplained aches and pains
While you might feel any of these during a day, these symptoms are associated with depression if experienced for more than two weeks at a time.
What can you do about depression?
If you have been diagnosed with depression or think you might have it, there are many different treatment options available, depending on what your specific need is. We recommend seeing your primary physician first to discuss types of treatments available in your area. Treatment for you could include therapy, inpatient or outpatient services, support groups or medication if there is a chemical imbalance within your body. Because every person heals differently, it's important to find out which treatment is recommended for you by a professional. Good news though! Seeking treatment for depression has an 80-90% recovery rate!
Stigmas Surrounding Depression
Our world is filled with stigmas and inaccurate beliefs about mental health. Sometimes, we learn them without even knowing it, which can lead to us not seeking treatment. Let's break down the most common stigmas.
Stigma #1: If you have depression, you are crazy.
Truth: Depression does not mean you are a crazy person. As stated before, there
are nearly 20 million depression diagnoses in the US alone, which means that it is extremely common. The reason we often think of this stigma is because of how depression has been viewed in society, social media, and Hollywood. The truth is that depression doesn't mean you are crazy, it means you have an illness.
Stigma #2: Depression is for weak, lazy people.
Truth: While depression might make you feel tired and unmotivated, it doesn't mean that's who you are as a person. Life is hard, and our emotions take over sometimes. People from all over the world with many different types of lives develop depression, because depression does not discriminate. It doesn't care which car you drive you, how much money you make, or what your ethnicity is. Having depression does not make you a weak, lazy person, but it will require courage and determination to overcome it.
Stigma #3: Depression is for adults.
Unfortunately, depression affects people of all ages- including the elderly, children and every age in between. Recent national statistics have shown that children as young as age 9 are developing depression. Why is this? Due to an increase in online bullying, social media and technology, children are feeling an insane amount of pressure to be perfect and are experiencing over-stimulation, unaware of how to handle their emotions and trauma. Meanwhile, we have adults unhappy in their relationships and careers. Depression does not discriminate.