That scary statistic is from WHO. 121 million people, peoples. That’s a lot. That’s a hellava lot. Let’s pile on a few more stats. How about 1 million people in Australia this year alone will experience a depressive illness. Or, that depression will affect 1 in 8 men (and slightly more women) at some stage in their lifetime.
What makes me feel really frustrated (and mystified) is how we all pretend it doesn’t really exist. When it comes to physical disorders, people seem only too happy put their hands up and claim ownership. There can even be an element of one-upmanship: along the lines of having a snottier flu, creakier arthritis, more severe pain or even just a longer list of health ailments. But when it comes to emotional pain, this eager attitude quickly evaporates.
Standing in line at the supermarket, I hear people discussing the most personal of physical disorders. Their daughter in-law’s bowel resection for instance. In gruesome and graphic detail. This leaves me frantically attempting to escape the checkout queue. And yet, imagine this. You ask someone how he is, and he says that he is really having trouble with the shopping because he is verging on his fifth panic attack today. Or that she is suffering from complete lethargy due to her depression. Perhaps mentioning it would help that person to make it past the checkout. Perhaps we would help them to do so.
If we round up 100 customers from the Coles supermarket, we know statistically that more than a large handful of them will currently be suffering a significant depressive illness. And that’s only the depression side of things. What about panic attacks, eating disorders, substance abuse problems, social anxiety, and the list goes on. And on. It is such complete rubbish that everyone except you is walking around in a state of total inner peace and divine satisfaction with their lives. No matter the impression that is sometimes portrayed. Maybe you sometimes depict a false impression too?
I say it’s time to reach under the soul destroying ‘fake-happy masks’. Wearing them is far too exhausting, and in my opinion, totally passé. We all know several people with depressive illnesses and perhaps they are suffering alone because they and/or we can’t or won’t recognise it. When someone feels depressed the best first step is to let them know that they are not alone, not weak and not going crazy. So, if that depressed person is you: YOU ARE NOT ALONE YOU ARE NOT WEAK AND YOU ARE NOT GOING CRAZY. Effective treatment is available too.