Depression is not a weakness.

It's an illness! Lili Radloff sets the record straight.

I recently wrote an article about depression. It wasn't anything particularly intense or illuminating  - just a few basic pointers on recognising it in yourself and others.

Even though I tried to keep it as light as possible, I still have to admit (though only to you guys), that it was remarkably difficult to write. As it is remarkably difficult to write this piece.

Depression somehow, remains one of the most daunting topics out there.  I'm not completely sure why that is, but I'm willing to hazard a few guesses.

Even in this day and age a lot of people still perceive it as a weakness, instead of an illness. Like some sort of character flaw only found in whiny people who tend to feel sorry for themselves too easily.

And people who really should know better (myself included sometimes) often fall back on the ridiculous notion that sufferers should "get over it" or "get on with it" or "harden up".

Another ridiculous and completely erroneous notion, is that one should count one's blessings and focus on the beauty in life, and that this, coupled with a healthy diet and a regular exercise regime will soon have anyone happy as Larry.

This is all hogwash of course.

While the abovementioned is certainly applicable if a person's feeling slightly peaky or a bit out of sorts, it will help cure clinical depression as much as a box of Smarties will help cure a migraine.

Depression is not only a debilitating condition to live with (I spent most of 2006 in a dressing gown, hiding under the bed when the doorbell rang), but if left untreated it can lead to addiction - sufferers often tend to self-medicate with whatever they can find - alienation, risky behaviour, self-harming and suicide.

The last time I checked a condition with death as one of the outcomes ranks pretty high on the scale of stubbing your toe to getting a brain tumour.

So if you know you're sad, do something about it. I know it's hard, and helluva daunting, but with the proper treatment you will wake up one day and the sun will shine so bright you'll feel like bursting into song.

Trust me.

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