Consider this: everything that keeps you alive relies primarily from your brain.
From your involuntary actions to your locomotive skills, they’re all actions and reactions from neurons and signals from the brain. What neurotypical people (otherwise known as “typical” people) fail to understand is that feelings come from the brain, too; it’s not the heart’s job, no matter what your “hugots” may feel like.
Every emotion you feel are chemical reactions that happen in your brain. For example, certain reactions in your brain like the serotonin levels in your prefrontal cortex affect aggression. So, what’s my point?
Your brain is an organ and much like the heart, the stomach, or the liver – it can get sick, too.
Depression, the Common Cold of Mental Illnesses
As global awareness persists, more people realize that their symptoms are consistent with depression. Though the Philippines has the lowest suicide rate among ASEAN states, there is still significant social stigma that surrounds it. Many people are afraid to tell their friends and family that they might have depression, in fear of judgment or seclusion.
Others, however, make fun of the illness or make light of it as if it were not something serious. Depression is not just someone somberly staring out a window; depression is sometimes debilitating. Depression is an overwhelming sense of hopelessness that can sometimes grow to self-destructive thoughts.
How Does It Start?
This is the part of the post where it gets personal, as there is no one way a person can “get” depression. It’s not contagious or transmitted through bites. Some might say it’s genetic while others claim that it depends on the environment. The one clear thing is that while those with depression may display similar symptoms, there is no clear or single cause for it.
Personally, depression crept up from a lifetime of difficult circumstances. Was it the complicated childhood? Was it the stress from the years and years of loneliness and being a survivor of bullying? My guess is as good as yours is. I just know that I wasn’t always like this.
Think of skin. Exposed to enough punishment, the soles of your feet can become sturdy and leather-like. This is a reaction as your body adapts to its circumstances. Your brain works in the same way. Present the organ with enough traumas and a reaction happens in an attempt to help it cope or heal. Enough time will make it so the hormones in these chemical reactions cause an imbalance in the brain.
At least, that’s how it was for me.
What Can You Do?
Fortunately, this is no longer the dark ages when people feared depression. Now, many people treat it for what it is – an illness.
One of the most common forms of treatment for depression is through therapy and medication. If you are not in a position where this is possible, reach out to friends and family and tell them about what you’re going through. Many people who suffer from depression feel as if they are alone and helpless, that talking about it won’t help, or that it will never get any better — but it does.
If you’re feeling overwhelming with self-destructive thoughts, you can call a friend to talk to until you can calm down or contact the Philippines’ suicide hotline, where professionals are on standby when you need it most.
There’s nothing wrong with being sick, my friend. Please just remember that your illness is not your fault. You’ll be okay.