Stigma, Stereotypes, and Depression
Depression's stigma and stereotypes affect the people living with depression and those around them. If you were to ask most people what someone with depression looks like or how someone who has depression might behave, they would likely respond by saying things like, "sad," "crying," "miserable," or "gloomy." While those of us with depression feel these emotions and exhibit these behaviors at times, they certainly don't encompass all that we are. People with depression feel many things over the course of their lives, and it's time to end the stigma and remove the stereotypes associated with depression.
Rebuffing 3 Stigmas and Stereotypes of Depression
1. I Can Have Depression and Laugh
I smile and even laugh sometimes. Depression doesn't always look sad. It's important to end this stereotype for a couple of reasons. First, it does not mean we're "cured" if you see us laughing. Second, just because we laugh, it does not mean we are faking our depression. It's not that simple or that black and white.
2. I Can Have Depression and Have Interests Too
I have depression, and I enjoy several different things. I like to write -- obviously. I also enjoy reading, painting, and baking. I don't always have the energy to do these things because of depression, but when I do, I make sure to use some of that energy spending time on my interests. When you get a chance to talk with those of us who have depression, ask us about our interests. Get past the stigma and get to know us.
3. I Can Have Depression and Still Be Happy Sometimes
Yes, really, some of us can be happy sometimes. Some can experience joy. We are not all in a constant state of sadness. Now, there are times in which we may not be able to feel happiness or anything at all; however, this is not always the case for some. Depression ebbs and flows, and we have seasons when it is worse and others when it is better. It is often not constant, and healing is not linear.
How You Can End Stigma and Erase Stereotypes of Depression
You can help to end stigma and erase stereotypes surrounding depression by actually talking to people who have been diagnosed with depression. Ask them questions about their interests. Spend time getting to know them. We are so much more than our diagnoses.
Smith, J. (2019, December 26). Stigma, Stereotypes, and Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, April 3 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2019/12/stigma-stereotypes-and-depression