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Reduce Stigma – Start Talking!

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This past Monday was deemed the “most depressing” day of the year. Considering I suffer from depression, I had a pretty great day!

However, it’s not just one day a year that people suffer from being a little irritable and grumpy.

The reason I felt the need to be post about this condition is because, with clinical depression comes a lot of stigma. And there’s no need for it. One in five people suffer from some sort of depression. And I’m not talking about occasional sadness or periods of feeling distressed or miserable. I’m talking about feeling day-to-day sadness, anxiety, pessimism, and helplessness.

Now I realize I have a lot to be thankful for, and happy about. And if it were only that easy … well, then I wouldn’t be writing this.

But think of it this way: if you had (or have) diabetes, you would be expected to do something about it. People wouldn’t typically judge you for having to take insulin everyday. Depression is, for all intents and purposes, the same thing. Good mental health is just as important as good physical health—it’s essential to a balanced lifestyle.
I read a statistic that says only one in three depressed women will seek professional help and though women experience depression twice as often as men, men are three times more likely to commit suicide.

Depression is said to be genetic, and I have reason to believe that several of my family members had or do suffer from it. But I find the more you talk about it, and share your stories with other people, the more you find that you’re not alone. One of the most important things is sustaining a strong support system and encouraging positive relationships.

That’s where I’m pretty lucky. I love my job, and I work with really cool people. I have a great family and terrific friends. I live downtown and I am experiencing the wonderful things Toronto has to offer, but it’s not always as easy as simply counting your blessings and snapping out of the funk.

Think about this: people who are dealing with depression and doing something positive about it, look like everybody else.

It’s the people that don’t get help or seek treatment—the people who don’t talk about it or feel like they’re alone—those are the ones that are connected to depression and mental illness. That is where the stigma lies.

There are a lot of great Web sites out there with a lot of really useful information—and being informed is the first step towards feeling better, whether it’s you who is suffering, or someone you care about.

So I want to reduce the stigma behind depression. It’s more common than you think, and there’s no shame in asking for help or sharing your stories with others!

I’m not alone here, am I? Start talking—you might be surprised how good it feels to share with people who are feeling the same way you do!


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