Not too long ago, depression was something that few of us knew or talked about. With the advent of the internet and rapid dissemination of information, more and more people are becoming aware of the phenomenon. Depression is considered a mental health problem that has always been present in humans. The concept regarding depression wasn’t widely talked about in the past which made it difficult to figure out if somebody had it. Now, we have a clearer understanding of the concept, yet there are certain misconceptions about depression that persist in our society which creates misguided and problematic assumptions regarding this serious topic.

Having depression means you are weak: It doesn’t matter how big, muscular, or buff you are; depression can easily come upon you. It has nothing to do with your physical strength, only your mental resilience can impact it. Different people have different forms of mental strength. Some can easily work under a lot of pressure, some can endure a lot of insults and some can remain carefree from a lot of worries. Unlike physical strength, it’s hard to calculate mental strength. Even a very confident and successful man can become depressed if something in his life goes astray. Having depression for a course of time doesn’t make you weak or the concept that depression doesn’t affect the strong people is a misconception.

Depression has an age limit: Lots of people think that depression is something that usually teenagers suffer from. Many consider it as a problem for only young people. This is not true; people of all ages suffer from depression at almost the same rate. There is no specific age group that is more prone to depression. Depression in an individual can occur at any stage of their life. Terms like “Midlife Crisis” or, “Emo Phase” are sometimes used to mock a person’s mental issues, which are more often than not related to depression. Old people also suffer from depression because of feeling unwanted and unappreciated, especially in elderly homes.

Depression isn’t for men: Most societies believe, “men don’t cry”, because of it, many assume depression is a women’s problem. Although women are twice as likely to get depressed, it is usually because of hormonal effects, period, and pregnancy. Also, many cases of depression for men don’t get diagnosed because they are reluctant to talk about this issue or even accept their mental problems. Men often repress their feelings even when they feel like they need mental help, because of the stigma surrounding mental health for men.

Depression is just sadness: Due to a lack of understanding of this matter, many assume depression as just a very acute form of sadness. Truth is depression is far more than that. Sadness is an emotional feeling like being scared that can go away through various activities. Depression is a mental state that can last days, months, even years. Unlike sadness, depression can’t easily be removed by doing fun activities. For a depressed person, sadness is just one of the issues.

We can see depression in people’s faces: The signs of depression vary from person to person. The same person that is smiling and having a good time with his friends can be depressed deep inside. People can fake their emotions even when they are depressed. So we shouldn’t assume that depressed people are always moping around. So, people often disregard a person’s depression because they see them smiling or being happy for a while. The complexities of depression are often overlooked.

Depression isn’t all that serious: This is perhaps the worst of all misconceptions. Still today, many people think very lightly of the depression. Some think depression is a choice, some think one can easily cure his/her depressed status, some think depression is a natural part of life that we should get used to. All of this is wrong. Just because someone’s depressed status wasn’t all that serious doesn’t mean it’ll be the same for others. The signs, impact, duration of depression; all of it varies from person to person. For some depression can lead to suicide. 

Depression isn’t an easy concept to understand for everybody. So some misconceptions about it will always permeate our society. The least we can do is talk more about it and raise awareness among each other. The more we talk about it, the more others can learn about it and easily distinguish the truths about depression from the misleading information.


Author: Partha Protim Barua. He is one of the Content Creators of Beyond Peace. He has completed his ‘Mental Health First Aid training’ from ICMA. If you have any queries or need to connect with him, send an e-mail to partha@beyond-peacemail.com