Depression: What The Mentally Ill Know
In this age of awareness and enlightenment, mental health awareness still generates a great deal of ignorance. Sometimes, even well-meaning statements perpetuate stigma, even on sites that seek to eradicate said stigma. Recently, the poster below came across my news feed from several mental health and depression pages. The depression quote is attributed to Mark Epstein, an American psychologist. While Mr. Epstein's credentials seemingly qualify him to speak knowledgeably on the subject, I do strenuously disagree with this quote's assertion.
As one of the nearly 57.7 million (National Institute of Mental Health) persons affected by mental illness, I will tell you what I and others like me know and it is not only the darkness and ruts of depression.
The depressed learn chemistry and pharmacology, necessary knowledge to advocate for proper medication or treatment.
The depressed study psychology in order to work with or to refute mental health theories, practices and at times, to justify firing a therapist or doctor. The depressed become educators of strangers, loved ones and peers. The depressed know what passionate self-care is, what care plans are, how to minimize triggers and how to find what is right with themselves in order to face another day and to seek the light. The depressed know about insurance and Obama care because we need to know how they will affect our ability to receive treatment. Oh. . .how the depressed know depression and its dirty little secrets. We have to know how to pet the dragon so we can maintain our depression recovery.
Mental health is about more than just depression.
The depressed are more than just depression. They are doctors, lawyers, teachers, PhDs, first responders and so much more. The depressed are your friends, neighbors, loved ones, fellow church members, coworker and humans. The depressed play, love, raise families and contribute to society in ways that are immeasurable. We know ourselves. As a result, we offer our light to the world. Simply because our lives are impacted by depression does not mean that is the only aspect of life that we know.
National Institute of Mental Health http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the-numbers-count-mental-disorders-in-america/index.shtml
Kipp, P. (2013, October 4). Depression: What The Mentally Ill Know, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 17 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2013/10/depression-what-the-mentally-ill-know
Author: Paulissa Kipp
What I reminded her of is another Epstein teaching, paraphrasing: In order to practice with depression there needs to be the space in order to do so. Otherwise, all there is is the depression. Medication creates the space in order to breathe with it.
As a statement, it is unfortunately open to misinterpretation. But the message as intended is accurate, helpful and hopeful in my book. You are misapplying his statement about those in the throes of severe depression to those sufficiently recovered from to do and "know" all the things you describe.
In any case, thank you for reminding us of our capabilities.
He is saying when depressed people look for their "selves" all they see is their depression -- but this is an illusion caused by depression itself. In fact, depression has not obliterated their "selves."
that depressed people feel their "selves" have disappeared into their depression -- but that that thinking is a symptom or consequence of their depression, not the truth.