I was taking Amigo to an appointment and noticed an issue of WebMD Magazine sitting on the table. There were multiple copies of this special edition, which led me to think, “Maybe I can take this with me.” The focus topic? Depression..
Amigo was called just then, so I folded the eight-page publication and tucked it into my purse for later reading. As I moved into my extended leave of absence, I wanted all the information I could get on my condition.
Depression awareness is growing, but awareness is still the lowest form of knowledge. For people with depression to really feel comfortable talking about it, our society needs to move beyond awareness into a deeper knowledge and true comprehension of this illness. Yes, illness. Too many think depression is a simple sadness, a case of the blues, a mood swing. How did I know whether my boss would consider this an illness or a personal weakness? I still don’t know, and I’m not sure I trust her enough to ask.
I’m lucky. My family understands depression as an illness, and they know what kinds of support I need. When I need to rest, they say, “Go” and push me up the stairs to take a nap. When I need a little extra moral support, they’re ready to talk and listen, and when I need to be alone, they allow it — within reason. Those closest to me, friends and family, know that depression affects people differently, and with me, feeling isolated worsens the symptoms overall.
I can’t say this enough: depression is an illness, a serious illness that affects people in many ways. My true friends know that. They know me, and they respect and understand how I feel. They don’t expect me to snap out of it or magically heal overnight.
They know I’m ill, and they also know I’m going to recover.