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Depression Is A Choice and Other Depression Myths

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As someone who suffers from depression and anxiety, I have heard A LOT of various thoughts, beliefs, opinions, and suggestions in regards to mental health. Perhaps the most common has been, “Depression is a choice. Stop choosing to be depressed.” So in today’s blog post I would like to explore some of these sayings and the truth behind them.

#5 Depression In Men Doesn’t Happen

While it is true that there are more reported cases of depression in women, it is far from rare for men to suffer from depression. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, 30% of all American men have suffered from depression at some point in their lives. My father was actually the first person I ever saw first-hand suffer from such a devastating illness. Depression in men is very, very real.

#4 Depression Can Be Cured With Lifestyle Changes

This one is hard to classify specifically as true or false because honestly, it kind of depends. Situational depression, depressive episodes brought about by specific situations, is quite common, although much different than chronic depression. Situational depression can sometimes be cured completely by getting a new job, leaving an abusive spouse, or distancing yourself from toxic people.

It’s also possible for someone with chronic depression to have a medical condition such as a mineral deficiency that can be the primary or even sole cause of the mental health disturbances. Correcting those imbalances can certainly cure depression.

For many others though, it just isn’t that simple.

So is this a myth or a fact? Yes, to both.

#3 Depression Can Be Cured With Medication

There are multiple kinds of medications available for those who suffer from depression. That being said, most only dull the symptoms and those who take them do so for the remainder of their life. Therefore, depression cannot be cured with medication, but rather, medication is used to treatment depression symptoms.

#2 You Can’t Be Depressed If You Are A Christian

FALSE. This is a BIG one for me and I may just spend some extra time on it. You see, when my dad was depressed, I didn’t truly understand it. I was a new Christian teenager who knew everything there was to know.

So I hounded him repeatedly with statements like, “You just aren’t grateful for what God has given you.” Or “Why don’t you just spend more time praising God than wallowing in your pity party?”

Then, depression hit me HARD as a young adult, and the wife of an assistant pastor. I didn’t even want to get up out of bed. I couldn’t function. I knew God loved me. I knew He had given me amazing things. But I was depressed and I needed help.

For a Christian, a common place to go for help is to those in your “church family” but briefly mentioning the struggles I was quick to be met with, “Just give it to God,” or “I’ll pray for you.” Worse yet, I was met with the same judgement I had spoken to my father with.

Going to church, serving Jesus, loving God, praying, and reading your Bible are GREAT things to do. They truly are. But they do not make you immune from depression. Christians can be depressed. In fact, I think you’ll even find depression in the Bible. That may be a blog post for another time, but I believe it to be very true.

In fact, I even have a theory that “Christianity” can actually cause depression. Read the post before you panic, okay? It’s not quite as bad as it sounds (or maybe it is?).

#1 Depression Is A Choice

Is Depression A Choice?So, is depression a choice, an illness, or what is it? I believe it is a little bit of everything. Now, before you crucify me, let me explain.

No one jumps out of bed one day and says, “I want to be depressed!” I just don’t believe that.

No one says, “I’m going to live my life not enjoying anything so I can get others to pay attention to me.” It doesn’t happen.

I also don’t believe someone says, “I know doing this will fix my depression but I like living this way so I’m not going to do that.” That wouldn’t make any sense.

I believe depression takes hold due to genetics, brain chemistry, external circumstances, and other factors that truly aren’t a choice.

But I also very seriously believe that the choices we make can sometimes lead to, or prolong depressive episodes.

Here are a few choices we may make that make us more likely to develop depression, as well as more likely to be unable to escape from its clutches.

Self-Care

The Bad Choice

If you neglect to take care of yourself, whether that be because of schedule, responsibilities, or finances, you are begging depression to come into your life. As time goes on, you will find yourself resenting those responsibilities. It’s also common to begin struggling with your own self-worth as your physical health begins to diminish.

The Better Choices

  • Choose to shower every day, no matter how you feel.
  • Choose to take care of your hair so that it looks nice.
  • Choose to exercise.
  • Choose to take multi-vitamins.
  • Choose to visit a doctor when it’s needed.

Perspective

The Bad Choice

Choosing to focus on the negative all of the time will certainly encourage depression. It’s easy to whine, complain, and gossip. But overall, it’s going to have a negative effect on your mental health.

The Better Choices

  • Choose positive people to be around.
  • Choose to change the way you view life.
  • Choose to write down ten things that you’re grateful for daily.

Time

The Bad Choice

Wasting time can lead to a myriad of mental health struggles. For example, extended time on social media is a proponent of poor mental health for a large number of people in this era. Television and video games don’t tend to help much either. In fact, they often take away from our responsibilities which causes us to feel guilt and/or overwhelm.

The Better Choices

  • Choose to be responsible with your time.
  • Choose to unfollow those on social media who worsen your mental state.
  • Choose to spend technology free time with your family.
  • Choose to follow through on your responsibilities BEFORE you sit down to watch TV or play a video game.

If you are interested in some more great tips to make good choices to fight against depression, please be sure to sign up for my e-book via the right side bar.

What Myths Have You Heard?

Let me know in the comments below or on my Facebook page and maybe you’ll end up getting a shout out on another blog post!

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