That Thing Nobody Wants to Talk About

You’re just sad, things will get better. You’re kinda blue today, don’t worry about it. Just take a moment to breathe and collect your thoughts, you’ll be fine. Over and over again we hear similar sentiments from friends, family, coworkers even sometimes medical professionals “everyone gets sad, it’ll be ok.” We are often very quick to dismiss the idea that the sad may actually be something more, that thing that nobody wants to talk about. You know, that thing we don’t say so that others don’t feel bad. Or that thing we don’t admit to ourselves because it makes us feel less than, or broken. That thing we push down and hide away until it can’t be hidden anymore and then it causes us shame, worry, and stress. That word that nobody wants to say out loud… Depression. While the state of mental health has become more normalized in conversation we’re still pretty quick to cast aside depression almost out of fear that by speaking the word out loud we’ll somehow cause people to be depressed.

If you’re an information nerd like I am you’ll appreciate that depression has a clinical, quantifiable definition as stated in the DSM 5 (a manual of sorts used by mental health care professionals to officially diagnosis an individual’s symptoms). While depression is individualistic, there are symptoms and time frames associated with the diagnosis of depression. But we don’t mention that there are now 8 classifications for depression. We don’t clarify that the symptoms have to be present for a specific amount of time. Nor do we stop to think that experiencing fatigue or loss of energy, a diminished ability to think, concentrate or indecisiveness nearly every day could be signs of depression. That having thoughts of inappropriate guilt or worthlessness can be attributed to depression. We’re not aware that depression can be diagnosed at any age and isn’t just something that accompanies grief, but can come on for a number of reasons or at any time.

Depression is one of those things that nobody wants to talk about because it makes us realize how little we know about mental health or how much we as a whole (not just you as an individual) are unwilling to admit about mental health concerns. While we know that everything isn’t rainbows and sunshine we somehow think that if we don’t speak about it then something won’t exist. And that just isn’t true. Talking about something like depression is a good first step to identifying and targeting the problem. It allows us to confront the thoughts and feelings we have and work with someone (a counselor, therapist or psychiatrist) to formulate a plan so that nearly everyday, becomes a few times a week, and then falls over into every once in a while. Depression… Major Depressive Disorder, Persistent Depressive Disorder, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, Substance/Medication Induced Depressive Disorder and the 4 other diagnosable types of depression all exist and can be experienced by anyone. Let’s not let depression just keep being one of those things nobody ever talks about.

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  • Judith Benner says:

    Thanks Ro, for your so true comments. I identify with all! The initial few to whom my diagnoses 3/’15 & 3/16 was disclosed, inquire ONLY of my husband, an M.D. In June I was privileged to be invited to the Philadelphia WAMS luncheon. Available there were glossy colored brochures with pic of three women walking in an outdoor outlet? shopping center. The brochures were entitled :” But YOU Look So Good”. I was glad to receive several for family, friends & acquaintances. I hope they’ll, by its info, they’ll become AWARE of MS, the “mystery malady” which afflicts & renders “alone” 2.5 million people worldwide. That’s all for now! Best, Judith

  • Barbara Holland says:

    looking for advice on dating someone with ms. I am fully supportive and accepted what can come in the future. the intimacy part is very hard……and i understand the side effects of medication. intimacy isn’t just sex….any advice would be helpful…Barbara

    • Jennifer says:

      I think that just by seeking advice you are already doing something positive. Intimacy can be tricky with MS. Emotionally, people suffering from any physical illness, usually worry about becoming a burden on loved ones in the future. Other worries (men and women) can include having and raising children, financial stability, and sexual performance.
      These are just a few of the things that can be weighing on his/her mind. Just being supportive, without pity, will help quite a bit. Don’t make MS the center of everything. Many people take their medicine and then try to forget they have MS until they have to take their next dose. Thinking about it too much can cause depression. Also, remember that some medications come with side effects that include sexual dysfunction, depression, fatigue, etc. Keep on the doctor’s until they hit on the medicine combo that treats the illness without causing problems of their own. Remember, be supportive, help if asked, but Do Not Pity…that’s important.
      Best regards, Jen

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