Why Depression Is “The Secret We Share”
“Depression is the family secret that everyone has.” – Andrew Solomon, from his TED Talk, “Depression, The Secret We Share”
The Importance of Mental Health
It’s easy to assess your physical health. All you have to do is look at your numbers: weight, BMI, cholesterol, or blood pressure.
Assessing your mental health is not as simple, and the importance of mental health is less of a priority. There are no precise numbers you can use to measure your mental health balance.
That makes it so much harder to understand. People think it’s about happiness when it’s about vitality.
They think that if a depressive just got out/lost weight/ate better/started exercising, then they would get better. What you don’t realize is that these things are not the cause but the symptom.
So when you or somebody you know is depressed and you think in this way, then it makes it hard to get to the root cause and understand the help that is needed.
Causes can range from genetic predispositions to past trauma to disruptive life events. It is not caused because you didn’t do “enough”. Nobody asks for that kind of pain.
What matters is how you cope with it.
Fortunately, training is a fantastic way to cope with depression. According to this article on Harvard Health, research indicates that “exercise supports nerve cell growth in the brain, improving cell connections, which helps relieve depression.”
That leads to a critical point about depression and other mental health conditions. It’s not about attitude, mindset, positivity, gratitude, or manifesting anything. It is a real medical condition that sometimes requires treatment from a qualified mental health professional.
No matter how effective training is, it can’t replace professional treatment.
Mental health is health.
So how do we help each other? Talk about it.
Talk about it with your girlfriends, your sisters and brothers, your spouse, your parents, and especially your children about the importance of mental health.
When depression is no longer something we share secretly but something we share openly, then we will know how to heal.
If you need help and you’re not sure where to turn, start with any of these resources.
Suicide Prevention Lifeline | 1–800–273–8255
Text “HOME” to 741741
Veterans Crisis Line | 1–800–273–8255
If you’re a friend or family member, learn more about how to support your loved one.
National Alliance on Mental Illness | 1–800–950–6264
To watch Andrew Solomon’s full TED Talk, click below.