Cancer Does Not Exist

Posted on 27 January 2015 by admin

Staff Writer Sara Ponder explores the misconception that depression is not real

 

ILLUSTRATION BY: JASON WATERS

ILLUSTRATION BY: JASON WATERS

By: SARA PONDER
Staff Writer

“There is no such thing as cancer. The doctors just made that up so they could steal your money.”

“You cannot have cancer; there is nothing in your life that would have given it to you.”

“I know it’s hard, but you just have to buck up and push through your cancer.”

“Well, I had cancer. It was worse than yours and I just willed it away. If you just tell yourself that you are fine, you will be.”

These are all things that people have told me, with one tweak. I do not have cancer. I have depression.

The first comment is something that was only said to me on one occasion, but the implication that depression somehow is not real is common.

The second and third remarks are the most frequent. The last statement is by far the most offensive.

Mental illness is medical. Treatment means visiting a doctor, if not several. People could possibly be taking medication, and some might undergo out-patient treatment.

A number of people go to the hospital. It definitely does exist and science has been definitive on that score.

People have their own cup of water. The tipping point to develop a mental illness is when that cup runs over.

Having more water already in their glass genetically predisposes them to having a mental illness. Some people have barely any water and others have a glass nearly overrunning.

Experiences in life pour water into the glass beyond a person’s control. However, individuals can slowly remove water by taking care of themselves to prevent it from overflowing.

For those who already have water close to the brim, additional water might overflow their glass before they can remove it.

If mental illness was the sort of thing that could simply be pushed through, it would not be an issue. I do appreciate these comments – at least acknowledge that having a mental illness is hard.

Most people truly mean it as advice and I still do not have a response for them. It’s like saying, “I know both of your femurs are broken, but I really need you to go get some groceries for me.” Beyond “I cannot,” how do you respond?

One person’s mental illness is not anymore legitimate than another’s.

Just because someone else has two broken legs, it does not mean my one broken leg does not hurt. Someone can also be depressed without having clinical depression.

Feeling depressed is a temporary, painful emotion, perhaps felt after the death of a loved one. Clinical depression is when those feelings persist to the point that a person no longer functions in daily life.

These comments all come from my experience with depression, but I imagine most people with a mental illness have gotten some variant of them. Or worse yet, they have just been told they are crazy.

I personally welcome questions about my depression. It’s to their credit when people without a mental illness are brave enough to ask questions and are even more thoughtful down the road to someone else with a mental illness.

For people who are curious, ask “What does that mean on a daily basis, if that is not too personal?” Or “You do not have to tell me, but how do you treat depression?” And “How do you manage schoolwork?”

All of these are appropriate questions. If you do not have any questions to ask simply say “Oh, that sucks,” and move on with the conversation.

 

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