The word depression gets thrown around— A LOT, but it’s always followed by a joke or an unrelated comment— anything to deflect from the reality. The truth is depression is one of the hardest things to deal with in life—period. But dealing with it in a household where it’s viewed as something that only the weak fall prey too, makes it 10x harder.
The remedies to “fix” the “problem” of depression is often linked to your family trying to understand what exactly it is that’s making you so “sad”. The truth is, for a lot of people that are dealing with depression, it is never really just one thing. Instead its a mixture of things—of which often include a huge sense of hopelessness.
In an attempt to “fix” the “problem” you’re told that people in the world have it way worse than you. You should be “thankful for all you have” and not let “minuscule problems” get in the way of that. The reality is, this is one of the worst things you can tell someone battling with depression—period.
Again, in an attempt to “fix” the “problem” you’re told to trust in a higher being and pray. Although, religion serves as a source of comfort to many, to others it serves as an authority that makes a person dealing with depression feel smaller and less worthy of happiness, in a world that already feels lonely to them.
The stigma of mental illness in immigrant families is more often than not, negative. It’s not talked about enough, and perhaps having more candid and open conversations about mental illness could help break the stigma.
But for now, it is important not to undermine your illness. If you find yourself feeling completely hopeless, a hopelessness where you can’t see any form of brightness at the end of the tunnel, seek help. If you find yourself physically in pain from mental rather than physical hurt, seek help. It’s not always easy to deal with the reality of depression, especially when no one else gets it, but it is important to remember that YOU above all else know what you’re feeling. Depression isn’t something that “only the weak fall prey to”, it is an illness that many deal with throughout the course of their lives.