Depression should be taken seriously

Daniel Garcia
Opinions Editor

The tragic suicide of actor Robin Williams in August was a shocking and horrifying event. Williams, a man who seemed to live only to make people smile and laugh, was apparently unable to make himself smile and laugh. Many do not understand what would compel a man as beloved as him to take his life. However, those who suffer from depression, as I do, likely understand how he felt.

Depression is a disease that is often misunderstood and not taken as seriously as it deserves in the view of most people. Sadly, many people dismiss depression as a bad case of “the blues” and the only cure is to “just feel happy” or “just focus on the good.” If only it were that easy.

Sadness is a feeling everybody goes through at points. Everyone has low points in their life, points where they feel awful and want to cry. This feeling, however, fades with time and the pain can be dulled or even removed by doing fun things, like hanging out with friends.

Depression is not like that. With depression nothing makes you happy; not friends, family or pastimes. No matter how much good someone can have in their life, if they are depressed they cannot bring themselves to be happy. Sadness will generally fade in about a few days or a week. Depression can last for months and time does not heal it.

There are generally two types of depression one can experience. Situational depression, which occurs often after a series of emotionally destructive events, and chemical depression, which occurs when chemicals in the brain are unbalanced. Both of these types have nearly identical symptoms.

The most devastating effect of depression is the effect it has on friends and family. A number of my friends, including my closest friend, simply talked to me less and less until I finally pushed her away. She simply could not handle all the stress and negativity I was causing her. It was the point when I truly realized just how much of an impact my depression was having on my life.

It was enough to motivate me to start antidepressants, which helped immensely. I’m still struggling at times. There are good days and bad days. Fortunately, the good days are becoming much more frequent than before, so I am hopeful.

If a person feels depressed, the worst thing they can do is keep silent and hope it goes away. Depression does not go away, it only gets worse the longer nothing is done about it. Do not be afraid of being mocked as just melodramatic. If someone does not take you seriously, then tell someone else. Do not stay silent about it. Someone will listen to you. Someone listened to me.