Depression and Its Stigma

Depression is defined as a “depressive disorder” in the mental health community and its mental health stigma impacts whether people seek treatment or not. There are 350 million people affected worldwide with depression. This disease differs from“sadness” which is defined as “emotional pain associated with or characterized by feelings of disadvantage, loss, despair, helplessness, disappointment and sorrow.” With sadness, you become quiet, withdrawn, and crying occurs frequently.

The symptoms of depression are:

  • Sad, anxious mood

  • Feeling hopeless and pessimistic

  • Decreased energy or fatigue

  • Feeling of guilty, helpless, worthless

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that you enjoy

  • Trouble with concentration, memory, or decision-making

  • Insomnia (trouble sleeping) or excessive sleeping to escape

  • Decreased or increased appetite affecting weight loss or gain

  • Restlessness and/or irritability

  • Physical symptoms like headaches, chronic pain, digestion disorders

  • Thoughts of death or suicide with possible suicide attempts

All of the symptoms above do not need to be present but usually several are present that cause interference in you daily activities.

Depression is not just one illness, but three different types of depression:

  1. Major Depression– is a combination of symptoms that affect your ability to work, sleep, eat, and enjoyment of things you once found pleasurable. It can occur several times in your lifetime.

  2. Dysthymia or Chronic Depression– is less severe than Major Depression and involves chronic symptoms that do not cause disability. It however, can keep you from feeling good. You can experience Major Depression at some time.

  3. Bipolar Disorder– is also called manic-depressive disorder and is less common than the other two types of depression. In this illness, you have cycling moods from manic highs to depressive lows. Mood changes are either dramatic or gradual. During mania, you are overactive, talk a lot and have excess energy which can affect your judgment and social interaction.

What complicates depression, is the stigma attached to any mental illness. Social stigma “is the extreme disapproval of (or discontent with) a person or group on socially characteristic grounds that are perceived, and serve to distinguish them, from other members of a society.” Stigma can relate to mental illness, drug or alcohol addiction, obesity, physical disability, sexual orientation, race, religion, criminality, and education. It has been around for years.

Treatment of depression is not the focus today of this blog, but treatment is as varied as the disease itself but can include medication, psychotherapy, ECT (electroconvulsive treatment), and various other treatments less known. The treatment of depression needs discussion in  a later blog as it is too extensive to cover today. Suffice it to say that if you feel you are having symptoms of depression, you should consult your physician or a therapist.

I have dysthymia which is the milder form or chronic depression. At one time, the doctors said that I was bipolar, but this diagnosis has not proven to be true since I don’t exhibit the manic side of bipolar disorder. My dysthymia managed with one antidepressant medication. When I feel it is necessary, I seek counseling to help me. Most of my depression or dysthymia is best managed by recognizing my symptoms and using the steps I learned to manage the illness. One of those steps is writing and expressing my feelings and I do this through writing creatively and through poetry. I refer you to a blog called Susan’s Poems that I published 3/29/15 on Susan’s Creative Writing and Poetry. I wrote four poems for myself and shared them on that blog. You may read that if you would like.

This Blog is Dedicated to Robin Williams

Write and comment about your experience with depression either for yourself or a family member. And if you will, I ask you to share this blog with others who may also be experiencing this illness. It is an illness and not a weakness.





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Susan’s Poems

Today, I share Susan’s Poems which are 4 poems written by me during the last week. #1 Cycle was written because I was having difficulty sleeping. #2 Pain, The Motivator was written for a contest on All Poetry and the prompt was to tell what motivated you to write. #3 was written tonight and tells how sadness has given way to depression and feelings of failed happiness. #4 was also written tonight and describes the storm within me as a tornado.

I hope you enjoy my poetry. I admit it is on the dark side so not all will enjoy.




Exhaustion overcomes.
Tiredness lends itself.
Thinking is foggy,
sluggish, fragmented.
Rest evades me.
Energy hides.
Attitude deteriorates
leaving  hurt, sadness.
Cycle repeats
Insomnia ensues.
When will rest come?
When will energy return?
When will attitude
change from negative
to positive?

© Susan Langer. All rights reserved


Pain, The Motivator

Pencil Sketch of a Sad Girl
Pain was the motivator.
Pain set me apart
and tore me asunder.
Pain gobbled me up
and spit me out
to be left unnoticed,
to be abandoned,
to feel nothing,
to say nothing.
Pain was the motivator
that brought pen to paper.
Heart connected to pain
spilled out overflowing
onto paper with pen and
young tears fell like raindrops
on a withered soul only twelve
yet much older in life.
A life of feelings of fear,
anger, sadness, abandonment
altogether within the
withering heart and soul
of one so young in heart
but old in soul.
Pain motivates still
this many years later.

Author Notes

I began writing poetry and prose at the age of 12 as an outlet to deal with abuse.

© Susan Langer. All rights reserved


Failed Happiness

Yet the sadness
overtakes me.
Leaves me feeling
empty inside.
The sadness
gives way to
numbness deep
within my soul.
Did not I already
fight this battle?
Do you never
give up?
Therapy, drug,
growth, changes
all lead to nothingness
when you come.
Again you take
me hostage and
I am overcome with
failed happiness.

© Susan Langer. All rights reserved


You swept into our lives
like a torrent of wind
from the sky.
You were subtle in
your approach as
you skirted about us.
You looked high and low
near and far for your
victims to be taken.
Those of us who saw
knew you were
not to be trusted.
Yet we lingered
watching your approach
with fascination.
Like a moth to a flame
we were drawn into
your destructive path.
At last sight
we knew we were
done for.

© Susan Langer. All rights reserved


The Band Played On

 Thanks go out to the hostess of Friday Fictioneers, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

My task is to write a complete story, Beginning, Middle, and End in 100 words.

The following picture is the PHOTO PROMPT. 

Click on the Blue Froggie below to enter your story or to read other’s stories.


Genre: Flash Fiction

Word Count: 101

(c) David Stewart

The Band Played On

The band played on. This was the last band concert because of the sale. In the name of progress, the park had been sold by the city to a developer. Few people attended tonight which was the reason for the sale. Three lone protesters held signs.

The mayor’s mood was celebratory. The sale meant the books were in the black. Bands, gazebos, and parks were in the past. The millennials paid little attention to such things. They cherished their iPhones and computers, not tradition.

Nobody would miss the band concerts. If you wanted music, use your iPod.

And the band played…


By the end of 2013, 81% of millennials owned a smartphone. Right now the Internet is ablaze with stories about young people …

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Friendship and Social Media

Social media has impacted our lives and has changed how we define friendship today. I lived alone for several years before I moved to Tennessee with my daughter and her family. During that time alone, I wasn’t affected much by social media. I was on Facebook and usually checked in every couple of days, but didn’t consider those listed as “friends” on that site, truly my friends. Friends were people you invested time with both physically by face-to-face interactions and emotionally by sharing you deepest, dearest thoughts and dreams. The people I connected with on Facebook were acquaintances that only knew what I wanted them to know about me. It was possible to portray myself differently online than in-person. There was no intimacy involved as there is with true friendship.
Now, living in Tennessee, I view friendship differently; what it is and isn’t. Social media gives us access to many people across the country and the world. These people, most likely, will never meet us. Most will not even talk with us on the phone. So, can we really call them friends? Are they really friends or has our definition of friendship changed since the evolution of social media?
When I started my three blogs that I write, I really became aware of what social media is and how it can help you as a blogger. That is when I started social media marketing. This was the beginning of my baptism by fire into many of the social media sites. There are literally hundreds you can belong to, but I maxed out my ability to connect with the social media sites I visit daily at 5. I belong to a total of 11 sites.

The 5 that I actively participate in are:

  1. Facebook (including 2 fan pages and one group/community that I run and multiple other groups that I visit)
  2. Twitter (including 2 login identities using one for my pet blog and one for the other two blogs)
  3. LinkedIn (plus Group involvement)
  4. Google+ (including Circle and Group involvement)
  5. WordPress (where I started my three blogs)
I also visit less often the other 6–Pinterest, Tumbler, Triberr, Bloglovin, Stumbleupon, and Reddit. Do I actively participate in all of these social media sites? The answer is NO. I can not handle even the 5 that I visit daily, but I make a good effort to stay actively involved in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and WordPress. I would need to clone myself to be active in all the other social media sites, but with the help of a program called Hootsuite, I can market each of my new blogs on all of the sites including a few I didn’t mention.
I admit that social media has affected me and my close relationships and since I’ve moved to Nashville, I have made very few friends (face-to-face type). I also admit that I don’t have all the answers about how we are impacted by this phenomenon. I do know I am evaluating my active involvement in the 5 major sites that I actively participate in. I realize that I need to develop real-time, face-to-face friendships here in my new city. I haven’t figured it all out yet, but I feel I am on the right track.
C.S. Lewis/Courtesy of Goodreads
How involved are you with social media? How many hours per day do you spend facebooking, tweeting, googling on Google+ or other sites? How has your involvement in social media affected you, your family relationships, and your real-life friendships?
Is social media affecting your real-life relationships? Is this a problem for you? Are you evaluating your relationships and coming up with a new or different plan? Think about your time-management and the total hours you spend daily on social media. God gives us only 24 hours a day and how we use those hours won’t be added to the next 24 hours we are given. So, I end this blog post with many questions and I ask you to question yourself and your commitment to social media. Only you know if it is a problem or not.
Please comment and let me know what you think.


(c) CG Jung

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