Depression is an extremely traumatizing and painful experience. Depression, that is, the mental state of a pessimistic sense of inadequacy and lack of activity, is a problem which affects every individual, either directly or indirectly. You may be depressed or know someone close to you who is. Both these experiences are painful and befuddling. This might be shocking to many of the readers, as most of us don’t know that depression is so prevalent in the US. Just in the US alone, nearly 18.8 million adults are affected by depression or depressive disorders every year. Scary, isn’t it?
As seen above, the number of depressed individuals is astounding. But studies have shown that only 20 or so percent of depressed individuals receive appropriate attention and treatment.
Why so? The main reason behind this is lack of awareness. Even the people suffering from depression don’t realize that they’re suffering and hence they just neglect it and don’t seek professional and medical help. This actually may increase the problem, harming the individual and the people around them. Incase the depressed individual knows that he is suffering from depression he still might choose to not seek help, as the stigma related to mental problems is still prevalent in our modern society. They would rather suffer in silence.
Depression not only affects the sufferer but also affects their immediate surroundings. The consequences can be seen in married couples, friends, parents and children etc. A depressed individual in any of the above relationship can lead to problems in that relation. The pressure of living with depression and/or a depressed spouse is extremely stressful. Marriages are dependent on mutual interactions and conversations and lack of healthy conversations and a loving environment can tear apart even the strongest marriages. Creating a healthy environment is nearly impossible when one of the spouses is depressed. This leaves both the parties unsatisfied, mentally, emotionally and physically.
So why doesn’t a depressed individual not seek help? Again this is because of the social norms. The stigmatized image of depression and a depressed person is the main reason why they continue to suffer in silence. There’s also a prevalent notion that depression is a sign of weakness, a form of personal weakness. The depressed person may feel that they are weak because they can’t keep themselves together and it would be heightened if they are unable to sustain relationships.
What can a partner do in such situation? The foremost thing to be done here is convincing your loved one to attend counseling. The individual needs to understand that they need counseling and help and they can’t deal with this alone. These individuals need all the support and love they can get. The partner needs to make them understand that they are with them, all the way, supporting them with all their heart and mind. If they can’t convince them, then help should be taken from either the parents or friends or even medical help, but under no circumstance should you pressurize the individual.
The stigma and negativity attached to depression is ridiculous. More than an illness, it is an imperfect state of being, one that should be amended at the earliest. Like any other illness, it should be treated without any unwarranted derision.