Dealing with the stigma of depression can be tough for sufferers of a severe form of the condition such as Major Depressive Disorder, or MDD. Not everyone understands, or even believes in depression, even though its existence has been scientifically proven. This can result in non-believers, and those who know little about the condition, assuming that sufferers of MDD, Bipolar Disorder or another serious form of depression, are simply lazy, or clamoring for attention.
As if such ignorance was not enough, individuals with depression may also be concerned that their condition may affect their ability to get a decent job, or any job at all. It is not unusual for individuals who suffer from depression, even if only in cycles, to attempt to hide this fact from potential employers who may see them as a poor choice of job candidates.
The stigma depressed individuals face daily can force them to conceal their illness from other people who may judge them badly. This can mean that they do not receive as much support from society as they would if they felt able to be open and honest about being depressed.
People who have little understanding of depression often lump all mental health diseases into one bunch. They then focus on extreme cases of mental illness where reports are made about sufferers being violent, and assume anyone with a mood disorder is liable to be aggressive and dangerous. This can be another good reason why being depressed carries a stigma.
Sometimes it is not society, or strangers to sufferers of depression who cause them the most pain due to their misunderstanding about what depression really is. It is close family, such as parents, who may tell their severally depressed son or daughter to pull themselves together and sort themselves out. Such parental advice is scarily ignorant of the fact that serious depression cannot be easily shaken off after a stiff talking to.
The stigma linked to depression is often fuelled by the fact that some sufferers neglect themselves, and are unable to work or cope well with everyday life consistently. Observers do not always see a person with an illness in front of them, instead, they see an individual who cannot be bothered to work, dress well, or take care of him or herself.
Depression may affect some individuals by causing them to neglect their homes, as well as their physical and emotional needs. Their neighbors may see the depressed persons messy abode or garden as an eyesore caused by selfishness, rather than a lack of ability to cope.
Individuals with depression who feel under pressure from society, friends or family, can be helped by gaining a sense of self-worth and increasing self-confidence. This can be achieved if they spend time with people who value and respect them for who they are.
Although depression often has a stigma attached, there are also many people who do understand the condition, and recognition of the symptoms and severity of the illness seems to be increasing. This is good news for sufferers who often have to bear the brunt of other peoples ignorance of their disorder.