1. Depression is normal, everyone gets it at one point or another in their lives.
No, no, no. No. Do not confuse sadness or extended periods of grief or mourning with depression. They are not the same thing. Which leads in nicely to the second one which is:
2. There has to be a ‘solid’ reason or reasons leading up to or causing depression.
There are factors that can have varying levels of influence on depression. However, there does not have to be a reason for it, which is one of the main factors that make it distinguishable from sadness and grief. It can slowly creep up without you realizing, and one day you wake up and it feels like you have a second shadow you have trouble shaking off.
3. You can tell if someone has depression.
Yes, if by that you mean movies that show montages of sadness. That’s basically the same thing, right? Seriously though, sometimes you can tell, other times you cannot. It’s something that affects you mentally, and physically but there are ways of hiding it especially if you have been dealing with it for a while.
4. People with depression just need to ‘brighten up’ or learn to be happy again.
Completely understand where this line of thinking comes from, but with depression there is often no identifiable cause which makes it hard to find a solution. If you know someone who might be going through this, remember the most important thing is to let them know you are there for them. Please try to avoid giving your pearls of wisdom on how to be a happier person, because that is more likely to make them feel even more helpless about their condition than actually help.
5. Depressed people are always sad.
When a person is depressed, they can have their good days and their bad days with everything shoved in between on other days. Depression can linger long past its welcome stay, sometimes for months and years at a time, or even a lifetime. Keeping that in mind, a person who is depressed often detaches themselves from involvement in their own lives and the lives of others. Being down can often mean just getting to a point, where you do not care much for anything or are unable to. Passion goes out; things and people that interested you once no longer have the same appeal, they cannot affect you in the same way. But its not a stagnant state of mind, there can be good days, you could have a good day or even a week, but it does not always mean that it has gotten better. Sometimes people just get better at acting, even if it just to themselves.
6. Depression can go away on its own.
This is a tricky one (as I guess everything is), as sometimes depression can go away on its own. But it would be highly recommended to get help, even if it is something as simple as talking to someone even if it feels like the biggest challenge. The problem with depression is, and I cannot stress it enough: it can come back. It can go for a nice vacation, and be back when you least expect it. It is for this reason, that I would strongly urge anyone who has depression to seek help. It’s healthy, and it does help even though that may be hard to imagine. If it went away naturally for you, then awesome, but if it shows signs of coming back in a way that does not seem manageable then please get help. Even if you think you don’t need it, or see the point, or even care. Please.
Disclaimer: I’m not an expert on this subject, this is from an observational point of view and talking to people who have experienced it. If anything I have written is inaccurate or offensive, please let me know asap as that is certainly not the intention of this post.