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Unseen Illness a Prejudice of Perception

By Charles Hopkins Published 11/27/2007 | Health
One of the sad facts of American life is that a lot of Americans live a life through visible perception. They tend to look at the surface facts (the six o'clock news view) rather than the underlying truths around them. If we see somebody in a wheelchair, we presume that they have a serious illness, but if we see someone with two healthy arms and two healthy legs, we assume that they are perfectly healthy.

It is this perception that leads to many prejudices against people who have serious illness that may not show on the surface. It is not seen on the surface therefore it must not exist. One such example is people who suffer from depression. While on the surface these people may seem completely whole and normal, inside their body and mind are going through complete turmoil. Furthermore, we assume that people with depression because they have a "mental illness" must be crazy and should be feared, scorned and otherwise shunned from society as dangerous freaks.

Depression although classified as a mental illness is as much a physical illness as it is a mental illness. Scientists believe that one of the main causes of depression is a chemical imbalance between serotonin levels in the brain. Although mood changes and times of feeling sad are not uncommon and should not be feared when it comes to a point where the person cannot control it and it last for long periods of time (more then two weeks) then the help of a professional should be sought.

Often, this imbalance can be treated with medication and often people who suffer from depression can find relief relatively quickly through this means. Also counseling can give the sufferer of depression many tools to help combat the depression. This will help the depressed person deal with their depression and may make medication less necessary or unnecessary altogether. Often the two working together in balance with each other will give the depressed person a good deal of relief from the pain they are suffering from.

Often, it will be a relatively brief period of time that the person will need both medication and or therapy. In more severe cases where the depressed person has probably been depressed for years and has not known it, it can take years of therapy and medication to help the depressed person be able to deal with their illness. It is helpful for one to understand that the depression is not only a mental illness, but a physical illness too.

Depression hurts as much physically, as it does mentally, a pain that one cannot escape from, it can leave many depressed persons feeling severely vulnerable. Many depressed people feel very helpless, misunderstood, and very isolated. It is useful for somebody who has loved one that suffers from depression to help them feel that they are worthy, valued and an important part of their life.

It is useful also to understand that the depression affects the depressed person on every level and every aspect of their life is to be compassionate, understanding, and extremely supportive. Understand the depressed person is trying to seek a way out as much as you are for them but they are in extreme pain and often their vision is clouded.

Do not come off as knowing all the answers this often just insults their intelligence, it is most helpful to act as a guide to help the depressed person find the answers they need to find within themselves. It is not uncommon for the depressed person to have had some traumatic event they cannot seem to come to terms with that sets up a conflict in their subconscious and is to painful to face.

Also never confuse lack of motivation, lack of seaming to care or outward signs of wise choices with lack of intelligence; many depressed people are highly intelligent overachievers that are deeply passionate, caring people. It is often this strive for perfection that causes some of the depression as the person begins to become frustrated with not reaching their lofty goals and begins to think that this is some personal weakness or flaw that they have inside themselves.

Do you realize that one of our most beloved story tellers suffered from severe depression Mark Twain.