There is no doubt about it; mental health is coming out of the closet.
Less and less we are scared to tell people we are feeling anxious, have OCD tendencies or sometimes fall victim to a constant stream of negative thoughts in our head.
However, there is still one phrase we are reluctant to claim; depression.
But why is this?
Well firstly, let's look at what depression is and what depression isn't.
Depression is not just feeling sad. Depression is feeling sad on a consistent and regular basis. Experts would say that it could be called depression if it has lasted longer than two weeks. Unlike sadness, depression can sometimes be seen on biological brain scans where key brain chemicals are shown to be out of balance.
Depression is not just something that only happens to the people who you may expect to feel depressed. Young, old, popular or shy depression can strike anybody like the common cold or a twisted ankle.
Depression doesn't always happen all at once and this makes it a little more difficult to detect. You may find that slowly but surely you begin to lack motivation, no longer take interest in activities that you used to enjoy and have consistent trouble sleeping. Depression is present when you know you can no longer feasibly say that you're just going through a rough patch.
So, if depression is so common and could happen to anybody why are we scared to say when it happens to us?
We are scared to say that we feel depressed because we think that depression is a permanent condition and once we say it we will never be able to be free of it.
However, this isn't the case.
Depression, like other illnesses, is also a temporary affliction.
Your body and brain will heal depression in the same way your nervous system returns to normal after you catch a cold or have a panic attack. With the right treatment, time and rest your depression will subside and you begin to return to feeling like yourself again.
We have all seen those people who refuse to acknowledge that they are feeling run down and have gotten sick. The perfect example of this is Monica in Friends when she refuses to accept that she has caught a cold only to end up with a full-blown flu. Why am I talking about this?
Because if we don't accept and treat our depression it could manifest into something more fatal.
Do you always need to go on anti-depressant medication?
No. This is a decision that you will make with your doctor. Talking therapy, relaxation and life restructures are also just as effective in healing your mind as SSRI drugs.
It's difficult to say 'let's keep it simple', because depression is not simple, however, with one in four people experiencing depression at some point in their life it's time that we stand up and no longer be afraid to say the word.
"Hello, my name is Sean and I once got depressed."