I think I shared when I first started this journey that even admitting I had a problem was a huge deal for me. I've been asking myself why? Why is it so hard to admit that you are sick? And yes! Depression is an illness. The Center for Disease Control has a department dedicated to mental illnesses and within that department significant resources dedicated to the study and treatment of depression.
If the CDC recognizes it, then it really is a illness.
I found one report in particular that really meant a lot to me. It's mostly statistics but if you can wade through it you will see some very startling facts.
Less than 50% of people who have SEVERE depression actually consult a health professional.
It's actually only 39%. People who have lesser degrees seek assistance even less. I am a perfect example. The whole point of The Journey is to see if I can find any other way to deal with my own depression.
Why don't people seek help more often? Why haven't you? I know that there are several sleeper readers who struggle with this issue because I have received e-mails from them. They won't leave their comment here on the post because it's out in the open then. It's a form of admitting that there is a problem. Why is it such a big deal to admit that there is a legitimate illness? Why has it taken ME so long to admit it?
Because of the stigma attached. Here's the stigma I had attached. If I tell my husband that I am struggling with depression, he is going to question my ability to be a good mother. He will fear that I will go Susan Smith on him and harm the children. If I tell my family that I have a problem with depression, they will insist that I start seeing a professional counselor or at the very least my pastor to discuss all my issues and past. If I tell my friends that I am battling for my mental life, they will shower me with pity or they will judge me for being weak.
People don't seek help because in many cases they simply can't afford it. Even if they can get to a doctor to be evaluated, which is questionable through current insurance anyway, they won't be able to afford to fill any medications they need for treatment anyway.
Some people are like me. They don't believe that they are really sick. I can't tell you how many times I said, "It's hormones." Or the millions of times I blamed it on my children's failure to listen. Or on the weather. I kid you not! I would blame a week of rainy days for my foul mood. I'm sure all of those things had a contributing effect but they weren't the real cause.
So for all of your preaching Sarah, does this mean that you are going to get help? Honestly? Probably not. I am part of that group that just won't go. I'm still hung up in my stigmas. I am still relying on my own journaling and exercise and diet to help me control my mood. Will it work? Who knows. Will I eventually seek help? Maybe.
It's all a Journey on a Winding Road.