Guest Author - Kelli Deister
As I typed the word depression, for the title of this article, it brought to mind that there are so many stereotypes and generalizations about depression. Because of this fact, many people are afraid to reach out for help when they are depressed.
In movies that Hollywood produces, psychologists and psychiatrists are often coined shrinks. This term is highly negative and derogatory. For instance, I have done some research and learned some very interesting information. A very long time ago, amongst various tribal communities, they had what they called headshrinkers. Apparently, after these people killed an enemy, they would shrink their heads. This is where the term shrink comes from and thatís why it is truly derogatory and negative.
Many people in our society have used the term shrink when referring to a psychologist or psychiatrist. I believe this is because of a general belief that going to see a mental health expert means the person is weak. I also believe it is stated out of ignorance and fear. There are also some in the religious community that believe and teach that going to a mental health professional is spiritual murder. They believe that what the mental health professionals teach is secular and worldly. Therefore, there are those within congregations that will not go to a mental health professional because of what they have been taught in church. This teaching is extremely detrimental to the mental health of the person that is depressed.
Some victims of child abuse go years living with the fear of reaching out for help with the depression they have. Perhaps they are afraid that they will be told that what they endured was their fault. Perhaps their fear comes from a generalized fear of what others in their life will think of them, should they decide to see a mental health expert. The way that mental health experts are portrayed in the movies and television do not help those who truly need the help.
I believe that a victim of child abuse can become depressed because of what they have experienced as a child. I also believe that the longer the individual goes without seeking appropriate help, the worse the depression will become. You know, there are so many factors that victims of child abuse face in their lives. There are the nightmares and flashbacks. There are the moments that they point the finger of blame at themselves. There are the deep rooted emotions of shame, fear, guilt, anger, rage, sadness etc. that they have within them.
Itís hard enough for a survivor of child abuse to reach out for help without the above factors. Itís difficult for anyone to take that courageous step and go to see a mental health expert. I think itís because in our society we donít view depression as a medical condition. Itís a negative thing. Itís seen as a foul thing. If a person breaks an arm, others rush them to the hospital to get treatment. If a person suffers a heart attack, they are rushed to the hospital as well. Yet, if a person is depressed and suicidal, it is not seen as a medical condition. It is viewed negatively and often times the individual that is depressed is told to think positively or to hang in there because the sun will come out soon.
It is imperative that the person that is depressed or suicidal get the help they need right away. Depression can become like a dark pit to the person experiencing it. It can overwhelm them to the point that they feel they are completely alone and there is no point in their living another day, another hour, or even another minute.
I want to encourage those that are depressed to reach out for help. Call a trusted friend or family member and share that you need the help. Call a local agency that can help you to find the right mental health expert for your needs. Donít hesitate to go to the emergency room and get the help you need.
I know how tough it is to reach out for that help. I have been there, personally. It is a very difficult journey to take. I also know what it is like to look a mental health expert in the face and whisper the word suicide. Speaking that word is so very difficult. There is a sense of shame that the individual feels. Please know that if you are depressed, there is no shame in that. It is a medial condition. If you know someone that is depressed or suicidal, take it very seriously and try to get them to see a doctor right away. There is help out there. There are people in the mental health profession that truly care about you and your life.