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The Social Stigma of Depression
|One of the things that people with depression have to deal with is the perception of others around them. Depression, in the many forms that it may come through as, is considered by many to be a mental illness. Trying to live a normal life while living with these circumstances can be very difficult because of how others see the person who suffers from depression. There is definitely a social stigma attached to being a depressive. Employers, co-workers, teachers and even friends who you have known for years may view you differently if they become aware of what you have to deal with. Yet, how can you hide it and really why should you have to?
When you apply for a job it is not legal to be asked if you have any medical problems. But at the same time you do not wish to deceive your potential employer. Yet, by telling them the truth, that you suffer from episodes of depression you will most lucky not get the position unless you can provide references from other employers that prove that despite your depression you were able to get your job done in the timeframes necessary with high quality work. This also may show up in your educational experiences. If teachers assume you have issues with depression you may find that you're treated differently and not given equal changes with the other students. They may expect less from you and so not truly see your true potential.
One of the reasons that people behave so foolishly around those who suffer from depression is that they are often misinformed and so are nervous. They assume that anyone who has a mental illness is potentially dangerous, turning violent at any moment and so they're afraid. In the long run this can be more detrimental to the person suffering from depression, as they are left to feel alone and isolated. This happens because people cannot see mental illness and this raises more questions for them. An employer can see someone who has to use a wheelchair is blind or needs a cane to get around their office. You cannot see mental illness. Depression has no physical signs.
Another thing that makes employers reluctant to hire someone who suffers from depression has to do with their health insurance plans. They are concerned that hiring someone who may put a drain on the programs could increase their premiums or make the plans for their other employees not as comprehensive. Most health insurance plans are grossly inadequate for the depression sufferer.
The social stigma of depression can add to the feelings of inadequacy that already plagues the depressive making them feel more inadequate, alone and unloved then ever. This is why so many people who suffer this problem tend to stay to themselves so much more. They cannot cope with the ridicule; imagined or not. Society needs to be taught that mental illness is no different than physical illness the symptoms just happen to show up differently.