Since the dawn of time mental illness was surrounded by myths and prejudice. People suffering from different disorders were separated from the rest of the society, believed to be speaking with Gods or cursed by them, or seeing the future, or were being locked away like some shameful secret.
The fact is, depression is an old affection and our present attitude to it is coloured by time, which doesn't help to battle this problem.
There are few myths about depression that in many ways prevent people with this problem from getting depression help.
One of them is a preconception that only weak willed people get depressed because they don't want to pull themselves together and get on with it.
Well, I've got news for you folks! A lot of great people in history suffered from depression and it didn't prevent them from making their achievements. Abraham Lincoln - 16th President of The United States? Checked! Michelangelo - great Italian Renaissance artist? Checked! Mozart? Charles Darwin, Lady Diana, Harrison Ford, John Lennon - list is miles long.
They obviously changed history - would you call them weak-minded? NO! So, myth Number One has to go.
Secondly, people subconsciously treat mental illness like an infectious disease and avoid any contact with you, when just the opposite needed - depressed people need human contact, need as much normality as possible. By nature we are not solitary creatures - we need communicating with each other to survive, so please reach out and keep in contact with your friends and family suffering from depression. They might be having difficulties being sociable, but believe me - even little contact for few minutes a day is good for them. And who knows, you might persuade them to seek medical help?
The other thing which really irritates me - people automatically think that depression is incurable, so they just give up on you, which doesn't help your self-esteem, when in fact you can tackle the problem and live normal life with the help of therapy and antidepressant drugs.
There are many causes for depression, and we still don't know them all - it may be in our genetic make-up, how we were treated in the past, accumulative trauma and stress, chemical imbalance in the brain, BUT the main thing to understand - it's an illness like any other, so don't treat it like a whim "it will pass on its own", respect it like any illness and search for a cure, and you will succeed.