Department of Mass Communication, University of Karachi
Depression is a reality but it is mostly called a myth or considered a trending word. More than 350 million people in the world face depression every year, yet it is still not considered a disease by the society, even though it has become one of the leading causes of suicide in this century. Over 50 percent of the people who commit suicide are diagnosed with severe depression.
Depression is a common and serious mental illness that negatively affects how a person feels, the way he thinks and acts. This mood disorder is treatable if diagnosed, but hardly any person opts for the treatment due to the fear of being laughed at. Patients suffering from depression are often viewed as being weak, and are thus often made ‘social lepers’. This lead sufferers to remain silent about their plight and refuse to get help, for the fear of being stigmatized.
In today’s society, depression is often seen as beautiful and dark, creating a falsified image of what it really is. Most of the time, depression is underestimated and not considered as an illness. Instead of understanding depression as an illness, many people think of the victims as refusing to be happy to gain attention. This outlook harms the esteem of depressed people, because these patients begin to feel guilty for their feelings if they accept this stance.
Depression is often viewed as an over dramatization, an overstatement and a thing only “sad people go through”. The people suffering from it are often called attention seekers. They are mocked and treated differently causing the victim to believe that they are a problem. This is one of the reasons why those with depression do not confront their issues or discuss them. The society tends to push the victim around and manage to land more frustration on them by blaming, mentioning past mistakes and making them feel guilty, which actually only makes an already bad situation worse.
A dominant theme in our society is that you should be happy, and if you’re not, there’s something wrong with you. Life can be difficult at times. It is in the labeling of people as depressed that the greatest injustice is done. I’m not suggesting that there aren’t people who are indeed clinically depressed, but simply that the indiscriminate manner in which diagnoses are meted out to people without proper discrimination is grossly absurd.