I loved seeing this headline from the Eastern Arizona Courier come through my news feed the other day: “Depression: Not a character flaw, but a real illness.” It’s what Bernadette and I have been saying over and over again, both in print and in our presentations to the community. Too many people have the idea that in order to get over a time of depression, all one has to do is “shake it off.” It’s believed that people who can’t “get past it” through their own strength of character must be weak or lazy. Just as hurtful is the continuing belief by some that depression is due to a lack of faith. If only you prayed harder or believed more fully, this dangerous thinking goes, you would be cured.
Those of us who must watch a love one deal with it know that depression is truly a debilitating illness. It is not a sign of weak character or inadequate faith. When we speak out in defense of its sufferers we can begin to dispel these misconceptions and clear the path to healing and better community support.