Don’t Be Ashamed About Depression
In an episode of The Sopranos, Christopher (a made man in the mob) tells Tony (the mob boss) that he’s feeling off. He’s sleeping all the time and doesn’t enjoy day-to-day life.
“I’m thinking, you’re depressed,” says Tony.
“Me? I’m no mental midget,” says Christopher.
Christopher was right — he’s not a “mental midget” — but not, as he crudely implies, because he’s too “strong” for depression but because experiencing depression doesn’t make you weak.
Christopher can’t accept that he’s depressed because he’s “tough” and depression is “weak.” Meanwhile, in an ironic twist, Tony, the man Christopher admires the most, is secretly getting treatment for depression.
Tony is the leader, the alpha male — tough enough to handle anything — yet he battles depression on a regular basis. Like addiction, depression doesn’t care about your race, class, wealth, temperament, etc.
Depression can show its’ ugly face, even if you’re a mob boss.
Depression isn’t your fault
It’s been said a million times, but I’ll say it again — depression is an illness, not a moral failing. People that are depressed are typically just as strong as nondepressed people. In fact, depression often makes people stronger than the average person. Dealing with an illness on a regular basis tends to make you tough and resilient.
Though the stigma is improving, many still view depression as weakness or something to be ashamed of. This is due to the misconception that one can “will themselves out of depression”, which simply isn’t true. You didn’t get depressed by choice, and you can’t fix it by forcing yourself to be happy.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t advocate giving in to defeat and self-pity. You still have an opportunity to make the best of your situation and figure out solutions to your predicament.
But, if you’re like many depressed people, you force yourself to function, to do positive things like exercise, and try to cultivate a positive mindset. In other words, you do the things that make most people happy, yet you still feel overwhelming sadness.
So, don’t get down on yourself. Sure, you’re not perfect — you have days when you let the disease win — but who is? You’re doing the best you can with what you’ve been given.
So, try not to be so hard on yourself. The truth is, you’re fighting harder than most to live a great life; you just have an illness holding you back. You may not get the results you deserve for your efforts, but, at the end of the day, you should be proud of yourself for pushing through adversity.
As I’m sure you know, depression is complicated. Getting to the root of the problem is difficult, and everyone is different. I definitely can’t say why you’re depressed or what you should do, but I can comfortably say that you shouldn’t be ashamed — not for a second. You deal with a difficult condition on a regular basis.
You’re no mental midget. You’re damn strong. Don’t forget it.