Talking about depression is necessary for dealing with depression and more of it is needed. However, some people question the benefits of talking about depression. How does talking about depression help you when you don’t want to talk about being depressed? Is it about making people feel good that they are helping someone? Does talk only provide useful advice but nothing substantial beyond that?
The most basic and simple reason talk is important is that it lets you give voice to your pain. Perhaps up to now you haven’t told anyone you’re depressed. Maybe you haven’t even admitted it to yourself. It might even be that you don’t know you are depressed. No one can help you if you won’t give voice to your pain. It’s like having a tumour but not telling anyone, not even a doctor. Are you going to get any help? If no one knows what your problem is, no one will know you need help.
The first time you say to someone “I feel depressed” or “I think I might be depressed”, you are reaching out for help. Depression is pain and despair. At first you might not want to talk about your pain and despair because all it does is make you feel even more miserable. But talking is cathartic. It releases energy and brings a sense of power and balance back to you.
Talking about depression isn’t about making people feel good that they are helping you. Talk breaks the stigma that leads to social isolation. People are called crazy, mental or lazy if they say they are depressed. Family members will stop talking to you. You may even be blamed for catching depression, like it was some flu or cold you could have avoided getting. Or told it’s a punishment from God. Sometimes shame makes families evict someone who is depressed or try to have the person committed to a mental institute. Other times people don’t know what to do or are simply exhausted.
When society talks about depression, it is a societal movement towards positive change. Talk creates a better understanding of the differences between different types of mental problems. Fear is diminished about people who are depressed. Workplaces put in programs, such as job security and easy or free access to mental help, that value workers who are depressed. There is a better treatment of depressed people, including positive changes to mental health regulations, employment standards, and workplace regulations.
Talking about depression is necessary. The benefits go beyond the person.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. (http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org)