So I’ve been thinking about those poor people out there suffering from depression and anxiety. I know at least a dozen people personally who have openly told me that they have at one point or another in their life felt they have suffered from depression. A good handful of those were clinically diagnosed by a doctor and offered anti-depressants.
When I hear statistics like 1 in 2 Australian’s will suffer from a mental illness at some point in their lives, it makes me think about those who don’t talk about it and why. Why are there people suffering in silence? I want to break it down how I personally view it. But first, let’s look at reasons why someone might want to talk about their depression and anxiety.
Reasons why people WOULD want to talk about their depression:
- Support – Having someone to bounce a different perspective off can do the world of good.
- Medical help – Speaking with a doctor may lead to medicinal or psychological aid.
- Feeling heard – Sometimes, simply feeling like you’ve had your say can make you feel better.
- Taking the lid off the bottle – Getting all of the things out in the open that you’ve been bottling up inside can sometimes give a sense of release.
- Fresh ideas – Sometimes people with depression can feel as though they are trapped and don’t know what to do next. Talking to others about how you’re feeling can often help generate new ideas and turning points when feeling stagnant and unmotivated.
So there’s a couple of good reasons above (the list isn’t by any means exhaustive, I just threw it together) and they are all very good reasons, but lets look at the other list…
Reasons why people WOULDN’T want to talk about their depression and anxiety:
- Stigma – Often times, people who suffer anxiety or depression have a stigma attached to them. Some see it as a mark of disgrace that brings shame to them.
- They don’t know they’re depressed – Some people aren’t even aware that what they’re going through is depression or anxiety.
- Lack of understanding – Some people still to this day believe that depression isn’t real and that people just need to ‘snap out of it’ or are told ‘pull yourself together’.
- Discrimination – A 2006 Australian study showed that 1 in 4 people saw depression as a personal weakness and would not employ someone with depression.
- Higher cost of living – Not only may a person suffering from anxiety and/or depression have higher medical bills due to counselling or medicinal costs, but 45% of 424 respondents reported being declined income protection insurance or had to pay far higher premiums for their insurance due to their history of mental illness – Did I mention 1 in 2 Australian’s will suffer from mental illness at some point in their lives???
- Insensitivity – Questions like “are you planning to commit suicide in the next 12 months?” are asked by insurance agencies.
This is a short list I’ve thrown together before I go to bed tonight, but I guess the point I’m trying to make is… Why the hell would anyone want to talk about something that could affect their future job prospects, increase their insurance premiums (if they can get insurance at all), be belittled by peoples’ misunderstanding and be made to feel ashamed of themselves? There just doesn’t seem to be a lot going for people who talk about it and it’s about time we all changed our attitude as a collective. Let’s make it easier for people suffering from mental illness and start showing a little more compassion for those it does affect in some way.
If you’re suffering from depression, anxiety or facing suicidal thoughts, please talk to someone. There’s lots of helpful information at http://www.beyondblue.org.au or you can call Carer’s Australia at any time for free on 1800 242 636 where you can speak with a real human confidentially.