Depression is not normal in the sense that you should just “get over it.” It takes more than that. And what is needed is not the same for every case. I am able to manage very well with a combination of trusted friends to confide in, very intentional introspection, some chocolate and a few episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But that’s me. From what I understand I have a fairly mild case and there is no shame in taking medicine or seeking professional help, if that is what is needed.
Depression is not introversion or shyness. Introverts gain energy from being by themselves. Shy people, for any of a number of reasons, are not outgoing in social situations. Depressed people are people who would otherwise be able to navigate in the world but are having a hard time because of something outside of their true personality (much like sneezing because you have a cold is not part of your body’s normal function).
Depression is not low self-esteem. The fact that I am swimming through jello doesn’t necessarily mean that I don’t know my own worth. I mean, it’s always nice to be reminded that I’m great (who doesn’t like hearing that?), and depressed people can have low self esteem as well, but they are not the same thing.
Depression is not weakness or some sort of spiritual short-coming. People do not become depressed because they are not as good or as strong as other people. There are many, many causes and factors involved here and none of them involve depressed people being less capable than others of being useful members of society. Honestly, I think sometimes (though not all the time) my depressive episodes are triggered by impossibly high expectations, which I set for myself and then am unable to meet.
Depression is not being sad for a day or two. Depression is chronic and persistent, and will not just go away if you pretend it isn’t there.
Depression is not rare. The CDC estimates that 1 in 10 people suffer from depression. And that’s just the people who report it because they are seeking help. For a list of famous people with depression, look here and here. Oh, and here.
Depression is not an excuse to disengage from the world and hide from everyone, forever. Taking some time to yourself is good and necessary. Isolating yourself for your entire life because it’s too hard, while understandable, is not what you were meant for. “It is not good for the man to be alone.”
Depression is not definitive. On the days when it feels like you’re swimming through jello, it’s easy to forget this. But the fact that you’re having a hard time is not the only true thing about you, and all of your days do not have to be this hard. If you’ve had too many in a row, you need help.
Depression is a thing.
Depression is not everything.