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How to Fight the Stigma Surrounding Depression

Updated on June 24, 2019
Kristie Teer profile image

I am a writer, an author, speaker. I talk about overcoming anxiety and depression, developing a confident mindset, and awakening.

How to Fight the Stigma Surrounding Depression

Education is the key to improving self-confidence when living with a mental illness like depression. If more people would educate themselves to the facts behind mental health, then the world would be a better place. However, you can’t control what other people do. You can only control what you do. So educate yourself and make your world a better place.

Start by discovering what triggers depression and the different treatment options available to you. Then I suggest that you learn about the different types of stigma associated with depression. There are a few different types of stigma that can affect your daily life. Just remember that you’re not alone.

Overcome Self-Stigma

Due to the way that a lot of people interpret depression and other mental illnesses, it’s easy to start blaming yourself. So many people callously tell individuals who are suffering from depression to “cheer up” or “everyone has it rough.” It’s not usually done out of malleus, but out of ignorance. These beliefs can become such an overpowering thought that you become passive of them.

Combat this by first acknowledging these stigmas and understand that they are not based on reality. They are based on the many myths that surround depression. This is a very real neurological disorder and is not caused by laziness. Educate yourself further so that you understand the truth about depression.

Overcome Public Stigma

Society is overwhelmed with misinformation about mental health which makes it much more difficult for those who are suffering from depression. Again, the key to overcoming this is education. This time, learn enough so that you can prepare to address ignorance head-on. Keep in mind that most people say things out of sheer ignorance so when someone says something like “cheer up,” use it as a teachable moment.

Above all else, don’t isolate yourself if you suffer from depression. I know that the stigma around it makes it more difficult to talk to people about your condition but you can’t isolate yourself. Build a circle of friends that are willing to listen and acknowledge depression as a disease.

Never Hide your Condition

The stigma surrounding depression forces some individuals to hide their condition. They won’t seek treatment or talk to their friends. These same people might even engage in self-harm. Hopelessness is a very scary feeling. So try to never hide your condition.

  • Seek treatment if your depression becomes too severe. The biggest danger that stigma creates is that it makes people suffering from mental illness feel as if there is no way to treat it. The fact is that treatment will help reduce the symptoms and get you on the path to a healthier life.
  • Don’t make depression part of your identity. The choice of words you use to associate with the illness is important. Instead of saying “I’m a depressive,” say “I have depression.”

Now that you understand how stigmas are making depression worse, you can get a load of weight off your shoulders. Continue educating yourself so that you are prepared for the next hurdle. Create a new reality that emphasizes that living with depression is not something to be ashamed of.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Lynna K Teer

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    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      22 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Coming out of the closet with my depression and anxiety was one of the best things I have ever done. Now that people know that I have it and what it does to me, they are much more understanding about what I have to do to keep myself healthy. I have even been able to share things with others that have been helpful to me.

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