I have this bad habit of critiquing television commercials when I am watching television. One particular boring night of reality television I saw an ad for a new antidepressant. In this commercial a well dressed woman wearing white is standing in a clean kitchen with her back to her husband and child laughing at the table. The message being that she was isolated in the kitchen because of her depression. This is not the reality of depression.
Depression is dark. For someone who is struggling with depression the light streaming in the windows would be too much. Also, the house would not be clean. Many people struggling with Depression can not find the motivation to keep up their personal hygiene much less keep the house clean. This leads to shame. Shame keeps people in the dark. It keeps people from talking about how they can’t get out of bed on time or at all on some days. It keeps people from taking a shower, brushing their teeth, or caring about what they are wearing.
There is also, gender inequality in this commercial too. Men can become depressed too. They may have many of the same symptoms as women except men often present as irritable and angry as opposed to sad. The commercial I saw is perpetuating the stereotype that women are more depressed than men. Women are not more depressed than men. Men’s depression presents differently is all.
If I were to create my own commercial about Depression the woman in the commercial would be lying on the couch. The house would be messy and dark. The husband and child would be watching from the doorway. The woman in the commercial would be looking at the wall with no expression wearing pajamas or sweatpants. Her hair would be messed up, and she would not have any make up on. The phone would ring. She wouldn’t notice it. If she did notice it, she would pick it up, look at it, and put it down.
This woman could have high functioning depression meaning she leaves the house to go to work every day. She may be able to hold down a job, but at home is where the Depression manifests itself.
Depression is treatable. As the commercial indicates medication can help. It is not the only answer. You must take that first initial step to speak with a counselor about your Depression. A good therapist will not judge you for the messy house, messy clothes, or your never ending sadness. They will walk with you through those dark spaces you don’t share with anyone else. How can you share those dark thoughts? They scare you. Don’t worry that is what I do. I walk with you through dark. I have been there before. If you are struggling with Depression, give my office a call 605-490-4229
Photo by Pixabay