Depression. That word will scare off the nearest date within earshot. But why are we so afraid of something that is very common?
Just because someone has depression does not necessarily mean that they are continually depressed and suicidal. I think people in our society are afraid of taking care of each other and want everyone to deal with their own problems. That’s why saying, “Oh yeah, I have depression” on a first date does not go over well. In fact, if that were a personality opener, most would ask for the check and hit the door, leaving you to find your own way home.
Did you know that, according to a study done at Berkeley, more than 50 percent of college freshmen experience some form of minor depression upon arriving at college? With the combination of moving to a new place with new faces, new ideas, new responsibilities and new demands, it becomes understandable.
The main cause behind depression is change, newness and having to adapt. So why do we try to ostracize those who struggle with depression? Trust me, not all “depressed” people are on the verge of hurling themselves off the roof of the dorms. However, I do know that many people do not share their feelings of loneliness and depression with others in fear that they will be treated differently.
To be honest, I think ignoring the signs of depression is a result of society’s skittish approach to the word depression itself. They make a bigger deal of it because there are severe cases that go untreated and turn into school shootings and suicides. No, depression is nothing to be taken lightly, but it is no reason to reject people, either. It is good for people who experience depression to be around people, and especially that they keep a normal schedule and do not bury their feelings in drugs and alcohol.
Coming from someone who went through the diagnosis and deals with it every day, I know it is important to have a good friend who knows what is going on and does not tolerate your self-wallowing. The voice of depressed people is a quiet one and only comes to people’s minds when there is a tragedy linked to it. I encourage those who do not suffer from depression to not simply write it off as an attention ploy or no big deal. Everyone needs each other. Don’t quiet the voice.
Jenny Hamilton is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and sport administration. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.