While recognition and acceptance of those who suffer from mental health issues is growing within society there still exists a certain stigma or shame regarding depression. A majority of people will struggle with depression at some point in their lives and many try hard to hide these feelings from those who know them. While some can shake depression others mask it with destructive habits that only deepen the problem.
It is estimated that three in four people will suffer from depression sometime in their lives. Such high statistics warrants the question of why we do not see the effects or symptoms of depression around us all the time. The short answer to this is that it is one of the hardest mental illnesses to spot because it is likely the patient will go out of their way to hide the symptoms.
As a society we are becoming much more tolerant of mental illness, but unfortunately fears and myths still pervade. Thus rather than a sufferer affecting positive treatment the illness only too often remains hidden. Depression is still seen as a “weakness” in society and it so it is often ignored rather than confronted. The recent survey by the Depression Alliance indicates that more people would suffer from depression this year as the effects of the recession hit. Also the study showed the significant finding that one in 10 of those asked said that they would not approach their family doctor about their illness.
Many people who suffer from depression use varying techniques (sub-consciously) to deal with the sometimes harrowing feelings of the illness. Individuals can either give in to it or they can facilitate temporary escape. At times they simply pretend the feelings are not there. These are all attempts to ensure they do not feel the pain of the illness or put themselves at risk of feeling any further pain. Therefore, many sufferers, particularly those who are high achievers, cope with the condition by behaving in ways that are opposite to how they are feeling inside. High achievers do not want to accept that they are unwell as this would mean they have failed. Psychiatrists refer to these actions as “escapism.”
Rather than feeling the unhappiness and misery many sufferers actually suppress their own emotions. This is based on the philosophy that if they do not feel anything they cannot be hurt. This causes a problem because in order to build relationships and share you need to feel emotion – hence sufferers tend to get alienated.
Another waysufferers hide their symptoms of depression is by self-medicating, and the most common way to do this is through alcohol. This can be a very dangerous tactic as it may hide the symptoms at the outset, but any relief will always be short-lived. It can only be a plaster on an ever worsening wound. But most of all it is likely to add a further problem to the sufferers issues. To self-medicate with alcohol in lieu of professional treatmentis alcohol abuse and will likely to lead to addiction.