Tuesday, February 16, 2010
The Stigma of Depression
This weekend, after grocery shopping, I listened to NPR's On the Media driving home. They discussed the DSM for mental illnesses and part of it talked about PMDD and depression. They interviewed a woman who said she wanted to be diagnosed with PMDD instead of depression because depression carries a stigma. As someone who suffers from depression, I have not felt a stigma. I have suffered from depression a good portion of my life and as I have talked about before, it is constantly around the corner like a shadow that stalks me. I am told by people who care about me, that my body language showed depression, low self esteem, etc. It hurt me to hear this but it was true. When I first started to date Rich, it felt like a relief to let go of my little secret. How he thought it about, he never told me. I am more open about my difficulties and it has really helped me. Do I introduce myself as "Hi, I am Jen with depression", no. Am I concerned that some bureaucrat in health insurance may deny me coverage because of it, maybe, but other than that I don't really think I am stigmatized by depression. As long as I take my medicine and go to counseling, I feel better and you would not know now by looking at me. It just makes me wonder. I have thought about what I heard a lot. Sometimes, I think a little too much.