“You don’t look depressed”: Debunking 3 common myths about depression

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Depression is a mental health condition. It’s classified as a mood disorder and is characterized by intense emotional lows. Most cases of depression are chronic (major depressive disorder), meaning that they won’t disappear forever. It’s unrealistic to expect a person diagnosed with depression to make their symptoms go away. This condition can be extremely hard to manage, especially without the right support. Although episodes of depression may come and go, it’s important to note that some people may experience longer depressive episodes than others. It’s also worth noting that symptoms of depression vary from person to person. One person’s experience with depression may not resemble another’s. It’s usually inappropriate to tell someone, “You don’t look depressed,” just because you may have a preconceived notion about what depression looks like. 

If you or someone you know may deal with this disorder, it’s a good idea to consult with a licensed mental health professional, like a therapist. To learn more about this mental health disorder, keep reading the information listed below.

What are some common symptoms of depression?

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Lethargy
  • New or unusual sleep habits
  • New or unusual eating habits
  • Suicidal ideations

What are some of the common myths about depression?

  • Depressed people have a certain look about them — It’s actually a myth that depressed people look a certain way. You might look at someone and not even realize that they’re struggling.
  • Depression feels the same for every person — This was mentioned briefly in one of the sections above, but it’s important to emphasize. Not everyone with depression goes through the same set of symptoms.
  • Depression is brought on by a traumatic event — The idea that a traumatic event has to occur for a person to experience depression isn’t true. People who undergo traumatic events can certainly become depressed, but a person can also become depressed without having to experience significant trauma. 

How can you effectively manage your depression symptoms?

  • Routine — When you’re in the middle of a particularly nasty depressive episode, it can be hard to muster up the energy to do even the simplest of tasks. That’s why it may be helpful to establish a routine, so even on the rougher days, it’s still a habit to do the essentials. This might look like sticking to a standard routine for showering, eating and other small responsibilities.
  • Sleep — Another way to manage your depression is to make sure that you’re getting enough sleep each night. For some people, it can be easy to neglect getting enough rest, but this will likely aggravate your symptoms. If possible, try to get the most amount of sleep that works for you.
  • Movement — Even the simplest of movements, like walking, can help ease some of the symptoms of depression. It can get your blood circulating and release the feel-good chemicals in the brain.
  • Journaling — Journaling is a method that helps some people. It can be beneficial to write down your feelings and thoughts each day. It might also help you recognize any patterns you exhibit, which you could potentially present to a mental health professional.
  • Therapy — Therapy is another effective option. It can be especially helpful to be able to speak with another person about your symptoms. Not only can a therapist be there to listen to you speak on your struggles, but they can also help you develop the coping skills you need to manage them. Getting the help you need from a licensed therapist can validate your struggles, even if a friend or family member tells you that “you don’t look depressed.”
  • Medication — Medication might be beneficial for some cases, but not in all. 

Lightfully wants to help you manage your symptoms of depression

Our mission at Lightfully is to work with individuals to change their life compassionately. We strive to provide high-quality mental health care to various types of clients through a focused approach to process-based therapy. The framework of our clinic consists of evidence-based, clearly defined, data-driven and whole-person-centered care. Lightfully offers various layers of service to both adults and teens: residential treatment, Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (vIOP), Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), and Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), also referred to as our Day Treatment Program. We regularly see clients who actively manage mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders and trauma disorders. If you have been told that “you don’t look depressed,” but you still feel as if you’re struggling mentally, we’d like to help you. Our therapists are confident and qualified in helping clients who regularly deal with depression.

Our licensed, clinical experts see each client as a complex and layered human — not just a diagnosis. We value our clients as they are and hope to enrich their lives through treatment. Our vision for the future is an authentic and loving community where everyone can be seen, heard, and valued as they are. We believe in the light within each individual, and when that light is properly nurtured it can allow a person to shine brighter than ever before. So, the next time someone tells you that “you don’t look depressed,” you can rest assured that we’ll provide high-quality care and symptom management, regardless of how your depression looks.Change is possible. When you’re ready to take the first step, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll take the next steps together, toward the fullest, brightest version of you.

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