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06. Depression

“Depression is being colorblind and constantly told how colorful the world is.” - Atticus poetry


Note: The source for these myths is a list created by PsychCentral. As always, I have attempted to address each myth myself, however, along with borrowing some information from the original list.

1. Depression is essentially being really sad, right?

If time heals all wounds, then surely, the sadness too shall pass. Right? That's the thing: While an emotion like sadness (usually caused by external factors around the individual) will usually pass over time, depression stays. In this respect, sadness and depression are very different.


Depression is a more persistent beast: "Depression is a longer-term mental illness. It impairs social, occupational, and other important areas of functioning. Left untreated, symptoms of depression may last for a long time." [source

Common symptoms of depression include:

  • unexplained feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, despair, or guilt

  • increased anger or irritability

  • difficulty concentrating

  • sleep issues, including insomnia or extreme fatigue

  • changes in appetite and weight

  • loss of self-confidence

  • isolating or withdrawing from loved ones

  • lack of interest in activities once enjoyed

  • low energy

  • unexplained aches or pains


Symptoms can sometimes occur out of nowhere at times and have deep and lasting effects. [source]

Girl and Cat

2. If your mother or father has depression, then you’ll get it, too

Not necessarily, no. While it is true that having a family history of the condition may increase your chances of having it, it doesn't automatically mean that you will be depressed. There are many other environmental factors, along with circumstantial factors, at play.

Sad Sculpture

3. You can turn depression around with positive thinking and affirmations

Yes, and no. While positive self-affirmations have been shown to work, the improvement is only able to help ease the symptoms of depression. The first-line treatment for depression continues to be psychotherapy with a licensed therapist, and possibly, antidepressants in combination with the psychotherapy as determined by a psychiatrist.


4. Kids can’t get depression

Not true. According to the CDC, from 2016 to 2019, nearly 2.7 million U.S. children between ages 3–17 were diagnosed with depression.

Children can absolutely be depressed. It depends usually on family circumstances.

Playing in the Playground

5. Depression is just a chemical imbalance in your bran!

This notion was touted heavily by organizations like the APA with the introduction of antidepressant medications in the market in the 80s.

However, more recent reviews of the available research seem to discredit this chemical imbalance theory. "The review did find a strong link between adverse and traumatic life events and the onset of depression, which points to the possibility that environmental stress factors in the emergence of the disorder more heavily than do internal brain processes." [source]

This suggests that psychotherapy, more so than antidepressants, would help when it comes to the symptoms and living long-term with depression.

Of course, any kind of treatment plan should be determined by you and your doctor. THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE.

Brain Sketch
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