Depression is not always the stereotype of the sad and down person. Depression can be smiling, going on trips, playing with children, laughing with friends as the person seeks to get a glimpse of happiness again. As a person seeks to escape the deep and murky darkness of their inner turmoil. Happiness is fleeting, a phenomenon that we are always seeking. It is much easier to grasp sadness than it is happiness. But depression is more than an attempt to hold on to the happiness that comes in episodes. Depression is a serious mental illness that there is a lot of verbal attention given to but not enough action in the medical or mental health fields. Depression is a mental illness and a serious medical illness. With that knowledge, why is the onus placed only on mental health professionals to provide care for the individual suffering from depression?
It would be beneficial for the individual with this medical illness to have a team of medical professionals working together with mental health professionals. For example, those with cancer have a team of providers to support them not an individual doctor. This could be part of the reason why those with depression and other serious mental health illnesses feel so isolated. When you are diagnosed with a serious medical illness, there are already providers in place that come up with a treatment plan unless you have a rare illness. With depression, many people become disillusioned because they are working either with a therapist alone or a psychiatrist alone or with no one.
If you are on medication, your psychiatrist and your primary care physician should be in communication, there should be a neuropsychologist and a therapist. Then the support system should be involved. However, this is not possible for many people to have a support system which is where group therapy or support groups may be beneficial. The mental health field is hodgepodge with providers working in isolation. A therapist alone can only do so much. Medication can only do so much. That is even if people are okay with taking medication. Many people are fine taking medication for what they consider serious medical illnesses but balk at the idea of taking medication for depression which is a serious medical illness that is chronic and can be terminal.
Those with depression understand that happiness is an episodic phenomenon and it is increasingly difficult for them to envision getting a glimpse of that phenomenon. Not enough resources and research go into mental health. The medical field also has a lack of respect for the mental health field when in fact, both are intertwined. Ideally, there would be a team of professionals working with one person just like cancer treatment. We need to become better at understanding that depression is not just “in their head”, that it is medical. It deserves the same care and attention as a serious medical illness. Maybe just then, there will be more episodes of happiness and less depressive episodes.