Tag Archives: anonymity

[Guest Post] Depression, Stigma and Society

Hi, I’m Depressionless and I am fortunate enough to be able to write a guest post on this blog. For more of my writing, check out my blog at depressionless.wordpress.com.

Some people have depression because of family issues, some have depression because they have lost someone they love, but when I was asked why I have depression I just couldn’t reply. It is not because I didn’t want to tell them, I actually had no idea. I still cannot figure it out. It doesn’t make sense. Depressionless, you can’t be depressed, look how good your life is… Yeah, that probably makes the whole feeling worse.

There is a lack of understanding about depression. The first friend I told (except for my really good friend who lives 3000 miles away) could not understand how I had depression. “But you look so happy all the time” was one of the first things they said as we sat on the park bench discussing my mental illness. I just replied with “Yeah, I look happy, but I have depression”. Maybe it is because teenagers have no understanding of the world yet, or maybe people judge a book by it’s cover. This is why I do not tell people about my depression. Those who don’t understand (the majority of people) will think I am making it up or think I am attention seeking, just because they don’t really know how depression affects me.

I’m not the only one. There is a stigma around depression which forces those suffering from it to stay silent. For me, the internet is the only way I can talk about it because people cannot judge me, only what I write. Without the internet I would never have seen a doctor, or my counsellor, or realised I had depression, or receive help from my friend who lives 3000 miles away. People don’t understand depression until someone they know suffers from it, which is very sad. It takes anonymity for many people to get help, and anonymity is not the best way. It is hard to help your depression by sitting behind a screen in your bedroom, in fact that could make everything worse.

If the stigma behind depression were to disappear I am certain you would suddenly hear about a lot of people you know suffering from depression. At the moment, I don’t know anyone who has depression yet statistics suggest 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience some kind of mental health problem each year. I know quite a few people, so I can’t see how that statistic would make sense if I was the only one in 20, or 50, or 100. The truth is that people you know will be hiding their depression from you. I am hiding my depression from most of my friends. That may not be your fault, society as a whole is to blame. But society must change, and then the care of those suffering will also improve.

Hiding your depression hurts. You need to be cared for in a special way. But you can’t get help because of society. That is the problem. How do we solve it? Simple, we must educate. When everyone knows the truth about depression, they will understand what sufferers go through better, and they may be able to help instead of forcing the sufferers to stay silent. Bloggers such as myself try to show the world the truth. The internet has various sites that teach you about depression, teach you about the illness that is more than just feeling sad. Many of you will have thought depression is just feeling sad, and if that is your belief you should read up on it. I hope you never have to suffer from depression, but I do hope you can understand and empathise with those who do. The more you know the better you can help.

hang in there…a little tree hangs on to a rock


i am a big fan of transparency. i try to be open about what is going on in my life. i try not to hide portions of my life. i try to always let my left hand now what my right hand is doing.

i participated in a writers group. The group mixed people writing for business, pleasure and personal writings. some people wanted to keep the personal writings separate from business writings. they felt like their personal writings my negatively affect what people would think of them and have an adverse affect on their business.

when i had the chance, i would advise them against that. “maybe something personal you wrote would strike a positive chord with someone, and the personal writing my bring you more work.”, i would conjecture. “maybe by showing who know are through your personal writings, connections to more business would occur.”

i really saw no reason to keep personal writings separate from business writing…until now.

too many members of the public know too little above bipolar disorder, or its equally maligned name manic depressive disorder. Their thoughts go to one flew flew over the cuckoo’s nest.  or living on some ward wearing pajamas that don’t even cover the backside.

they visualize

jack nicholson in one who flew over the cuckoo's nest

jack nicholson in one who flew over the cuckoo’s nest

even if their thoughts don’t go that far off the deep end, there is still a level of uncomfortableness with unknown things. too many people know too little about bipolar and are likely to make judgements before knowing the whole story. for that reason, at this time, i am choosing to segregate my bipolar life.

that doesn’t mean it always is going to be that way. i am wise to the ways of the internet and know how to connect bipolar sojourner back to ste… oops, almost let my real identity slip out there.

truth be told, i guess it is partly with me becoming comfortable with my new tag. I hate tags. I have been doing some work recently with  get out of your mind and into your life: the new acceptance and commitment therapy by Steven C. Hayes. he would suggest against tagging and would suggest a statement of something along the line that I struggle with bipolar disorder. guess i am still learning and trying to apply ACT.

please understand my anonymity as I get accustomed to this new part of my life.