Guest Author - Lisa Angelettie M.S.W.
WIth all the mental health information available, and the mainstream appeal of shows like Dr. Phil etc., it's still amazing to me how so many people are misinformed or ignorant about mental health issues such as - depression. It's this ignorance or the inability to know what to do to help people with depression, that may cause others to blow off your depression - when you tell them about it.
I was talking to a friend the other day about an old friend of hers who is elderly and is not as mobile as she once was. I asked pretty general questions -- like about her health and spirits, and my friend casually said that she thought the woman may be depressed.
So of course being the mental health professional that I am (and that she knows I am!), I asked her about it. So she briefly mentioned that this woman was rarely if ever leaving the house. (She lives with another friend) And that she didn't do much but stay in her bedroom and drink cocktails.
So again I probed about how long this had been going on and had anyone tried to do anything to help this woman. I was then told that it was suggested that she visit a mental health clinic, but nothing ever became of it. So now everyone has just decided to leave her alone.
When my friend told me this story, she said it with such a casual or indifferent tone -- that I wondered if she even believed that depression was this "real thing" or if she thought that if it was real, that the woman was doing nothing to help herself.
Now I consider this - a depression blow off.
The immediate people in her life were not taking this woman's depression very seriously. I don't know how though -- when she clearly has a few red flags going off.
1. She is over 65 years old
2. She has no living family
3, She abuses alcohol
4. She is a recluse
5. She wants to be left alone
6. This is new behavior for her
There could be many reasons for other people blowing your depression off. People who have never felt true clinical depression symptoms can't begin to know just how painful it is to have it -- emotionally or physically.
Others feel powerless and don't know what to do to help you "snap out of it". And then there may be others that just don't believe that depression is a disorder that just can't be "wished away"; And finally there are people who just don't have the patience for your depression. They want you "back to normal" by tomorrow!
Bottom line -- Do not give anyone enough power to blow off your depression. Your symptoms will not just go away. You are going to have to do something about it. Talk about it with someone who is qualified to hear what you have to say. Or just talk to anyone smart enough to listen. Depression is very real - very tough - but not impossible to beat. Remember that!
Lisa Angelettie, "GirlShrink" is an online advice authority. Her site GirlShrink.com is the #1 "Advice & Counseling" site on the web and contributing author of "101 Great Ways To Improve Your Life". Instantly get a FREE Bonus when you sign up for her free Better Choices Ezine. Please visit us for more discussion on this topic in the depression forum to talk about it further. Don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter for topics in the news, new articles, website & book reviews, and other useful mental health resources. Subscribe below.