Friday, August 31, 2007

Advertising myself

A number of people have stated I have been quite brave about the openness of my depression. I like to thank those people for those kind words. Yet a part of me says I have ulterior motives when advertising my depression. That section of my mind wants pity and attention, and it seems the only way to obtain what I want is through saying, "I have depression." However the logic fails completely as not many of my friends or peers give me pity or attention. To be quite honest they have a much more difficult task handling someone they know with depression and rather ignore the problem. I don't really blame them for taking this approach. At least they are being honest with themselves by acknowledging they cannot handle the situation and rather step away from it - advice I have been given by my psychiatrist. There are more constructive and less damaging ways to obtain pity and attention.

The main reason why I "advertise" my depression is because I hate hiding it. I despise the fact whenever an old friend asks me how I'm doing. I don't want to lie and say I'm doing fine in a nice training post in a good hospital, which I would have been doing if I had not suffered from depression. Neither do I want to keep saying negative things about myself and ruins somebody's day. So I rather get it over with by putting it on my profile at Facebook and on this blog. Hopefully (and so far unsuccessfully) people will read this and then think about what they write to me before actually doing so.

I think the fact the stigma against psychiatric diseases, whether it is schizophrenia or depression, stops people who are suffering from these diseases from being open about them. I really want to say to people who look down on people with psychiatric conditions that we are not crazy or stupid - we are just suffering from psychosis/neurosis. Just as blood pressure and serum sodium can fluctuate and cause disease, so can psychological factors such as mood and cognition.

Thankfully the situation has improved over the years. Once homosexuality was considered a psychiatric disease but this has changed for the better. Better exposure and education about psychiatric diseases helps lay people from being ignorant. That is why I'm grateful for films such as "Philadelphia" and "A Beautiful Mind". It teaches people about situations which we don't understand.

Regretfully there is still no movie which enlightens us on depression. To my knowledge, there has only been one film that speaks openly about depression (Prozac Nation) but its lack of success stopped the message from filtering through.

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