There are many misconceptions when it comes to depression. A lot of this comes from static research that is not completely accurate.
After attending a symposium on depression and seeing research on depressed people versus happy people, as well as algorithms that will be able to tell if someone is suicidal online is all well and good, however, the illness is not this black and white.
For starters there are not depressed people and happy people - there are people that experience both at different times. Not to mention that there are many variations to depression. Generally speaking, depression has its own purpose.
The brain causes a person to go into depression to isolate, restore and review a situation or trauma that has been experienced. It is a coping mechanism for the brain. However, when this becomes the only coping mechanism the body follows suit and the chemicals in the brain will adjust to help the person with the constant pain that is now being felt.
The extent of this varies per person. Additionally, anxiety is not always to do with depression. While it is perceived as one must have the other, this is not true. Anxiety can come from a myriad of reasons and is also created in a different part of the body - typically speaking. That is not to say someone with depression cannot have anxiety. Simply that there are many, many versions and there is no one fits all.
To add another layer to this is the belief that certain language will cause a “depressed” person to react or go into depression. Again, if it was only this simple. Completely generalising - when a person is in the throws of depression no specific post or wording will cause anymore harm or pain than what they are already in. That is with the assumption that they are even online at the time. The harshest versions of depression can see the person literally isolating and not connecting with online or anyone. This sadly can go on for days, weeks and months, and longer.
It is rather insulting to isolate depressed people separate to the rest of the world. People with depression are not lacking or sub-human. It is an illness that is extremely unpleasant, like many chronic illnesses and sympathy is not warranted. Empathy however is.
One of the worst parts of depression is the lost hope within the agonising pain. This can be debilitating and literally deadly. It is not a joke and should never be chastised or made light of. Everyone goes through versions of depression throughout life. However, some have it as an illness.
How Do I Know
I have helped many for over 14 years with varying struggles including depression and anxiety. I have seen clients believe they will never get better and this in itself cause traumas.
I am advocate for self healing and finding ways when nothing else works. I know first hand the struggle and intensity that depression presents. As a therapist, I am not infallible or invincible. However, I do believe nine out of 10 times a resolution can be found.
Be kind to yourself, be honest with yourself and don’t accept research by those that don’t understand as fact, it is not. Only you know the truth, the struggle and it is your choice how to handle this. One thing I will say is that it does not need to control you forever.