I spoke with a friend last night that’s going through her current life drama, which consists of going through a divorce, raising a little kid, working a full time job and trying to balance depression.
I have to say I have a lot of respect for people that are strong enough to maintain a normal life and deal with depression, and she for one is a true soldier and deserves big ups for what she does on the daily. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 16 million adults here in US have major depressive disorder. She is in therapy and is taking medication to combat the depression, along with proper diet and exercise and a good spiritual base and support system.
I see ad after ad in magazines and on television about the different anti-depressants that are available to combat depression. The picture they portray however is not one of realism. What I have interpreted from television ads particularly can be deemed offensive and unrealistic in the world of someone that suffers from depression. One of the commercials I particularly despise is where the product and it’s benefits as well as side effects are discussed and then they have this Brother out in a garden and he catches a butterfly and then sets it free. I think the pharmaceutical companies and the team that did that ad campaign need to consider the respect involved in treating such a disease. A pill is not going to enable you to suddenly be happy and run out and catch butterflies and when I first saw the ads I resented them representing the product in that manner.
And just maybe I am being too harsh. Are they selling hope? Maybe they are hoping to target a market that needs help so badly that the hope of finding a product that will ease their depression is a God send. I’m on the outside looking in so I stand to learn something here. What I recognize as an observer and relative of someone who suffered from depression is that we all need help sometimes. Dealing with depression is not an easy feat. Sometimes it takes everything one has to get up and get dressed in the morning just to try to have a normal day. Sometimes leaving the house in itself is very overwhelming to a person that suffers from depression. Interaction with others and socialization can also be quite overwhelming. As an onlooker who has certainly been depressed before, I realize it is necessary to be sensitive to what someone else is dealing with and to the needs of others. And reflecting back on the feelings of desperation, I suppose I too would have bought into an ad campaign that sold hope if the product had the ability to chase my blues and lethargy away.
I overheard a friend make a statement in reference to a relative she had that suffered from depression. She said in a very emphatic and authoritative tone, “Well he needs to get a grip because we all have problems to deal with.” Where that may be true, guess what, it has to be pretty easy for someone standing on the outside looking in on someone else’s world to pass judgment. When someone suffers from depression, you can’t expect him or her to just pull up by the boot straps and move on with life. It doesn’t work like that. It’s a process, and whether it’s clinical or chemical, it doesn’t go away over night. Depression is a disease that requires the proper treatment plan to improve.
If you have or know someone that suffers from depression, try to be compassionate and understanding and maybe even put yourself in their place. I suppose there have been days where if I thought I could take a pill that could erase depression and enable me to chase happiness by the illusion of catching a butterfly, I would have tried it. Therefore I cannot totally condemn the pharmaceutical companies. I’m sure there are no perfect drugs to combat this illness. My experience with depression was short lived. A pill did not work for me and it could be because I didn’t give it the time necessary. I chose to go a different route by becoming immersed in my work, my craft and in fitness. It also took a whole lot of prayer to rise up from the depths of depression and the support of close friends in family. So, If by chance they are selling hope in the world we live in, and in the world of the depressed, I suppose I too am buying. If yo are depressed don’t be ashamed, don’t be embarrassed, be smart and seek whatever treatment you need. You do have a choice. With a little work – and a lot of prayer, you will see the other side – the bright side of the rainbow again.