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And Where Did You Get THAT Idea?

Recently I was appalled by a remark made by a psychologist and it started me on the road to thinking of the misunderstandings people have about depression.   It’s time we looked at those mistaken beliefs.

The belief that I encountered from this particular psychologist was that the depression pill someone was taking was a “happy” pill.  Sadly this is a common misunderstanding but coming from a psychologist it is even more sad.  Depression medicine does not make the depressed individual “happy.”  It does not give them a high or an automatic recovery.  Depression medicine often takes up to a month to even begin to work and it involves a great deal of time and balancing to arrive at the right combination of medicine that will work for each individual.  Some individuals can achieve help with one pill; others might need a combination of four or more.  I would like for one “happy” pill to work for all of us but that is something that exists only in Wonderland.

This same psychologist talked about how most people just have to get serious.  They needed to think positively and avoid the pity party and if they did that depression would disappear.  Again, this is a sadly mistaken belief.  If you are mildly down in the dumps because of something that occurred, you would be well served by getting off the pity pot and working to think positively about your life and your options.  However, clinical depression is so much more.  It cannot magically disappear by thinking positively.

Another corker from this gentleman was the fact that depressed people are easily spotted.  They cry a lot.  They dress slovenly.  And they cannot hold a decent job.  I particularly took issue with the last item.  During the many years of depression that my husband had, he rarely missed a day of work.  Each morning, despite a difficult night or having to push himself, he went off to work and did great work that put others to shame.  Also, he seldom cried and his sense of humor was praised by family and friends alike.  And as for dressing slovenly, by this psychologist’s standards, I would be depressed because today I went to the store following work in the garden.  I was not only dressed in dirty clothes but also hadn’t taken a shower and my hair was all matted.

These are just a few of the false beliefs about depression that are circulating, beliefs that help to maintain the stigma.  We need so many more people to attend life’s Depression 101 class so that all of us are on the same page and we can together beat this illness.

– Bernadette


2 Responses

  1. It is sad – and even infuriating – to know that sometimes the worst discrimination and misunderstanding comes from within the mental health profession itself. This guy sounds like a piece of work! I would hate to be his patient, but obviously some people are. I’m sad for them…


  2. good LORD, it’s scary that that man is a psychologist… Really scary. 😦 He sure would not have spotted Dan. He was seemingly VERY happy. Good lord, no one would ever, EVER see Dan crying or acting depressed in any way. And if the 2 meds my daughter are on made her happy, then why do we still struggle with self harm and depression and mood swings?

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