DEPRESSION: FALSE DELUSION OR SERIOUS MEDICAL CONDITION?
Chester Bennington’s suicide shone a light on the topic of depression. But is depression simply a state of mind or is it a dark terror hiding in plain sight?
Linkin Park front man Chester Bennington was found dead in his home shortly after the release of the band’s seventh album, One More Light, in 2017. This caused a media uproar, which sparked many negative comments on the selfishness of his actions and how he left his friends, family and fans behind with no regard for their well-being.
The truth is, Chester’s suicide was not as sudden as we all thought it was. All the signs were there, hidden in plain sight. His last few songs, which many of us simply dismissed as the decline of a has-been way past his prime, were his way of leaving behind a deeper, darker message. Unfortunately, most of us didn’t realise it until it was too late.
Depression is not a phase, it’s an illness
Most folks wouldn’t tell a person with physical disabilities to stop faking it or a homosexual that they’re just going through a phase. What makes depression any different? On the outside, depression may look like a convenient excuse to some but in reality, it is a mental disorder that should not be taken lightly.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 300 million people worldwide suffer from depression. It plays a major role in global disability and disease; and, at its worst, can lead to suicide. The 2016 Singapore Mental Health Study also found that one in seven Singaporeans have suffered from depression at some point in their lives. That equates to 13.9 percent of the entire population, a 1.9 percent increase from a similar study conducted in 2010.
The saddest people smile the brightest
Despite Chester Bennington’s suicide, the stigma of depression being a delusion rather than a condition still remains. Many still believe that being depressed is a choice and can be eradicated at will. High-functioning depression, an invisible illness that may be more difficult to detect than major depressive disorder, could explain why.
For the most part, people living with high-functioning depression often come across as high achievers who have everything to be grateful for. But therein lies the danger. Under a seemingly untroubled exterior lies a bottomless pit of anxiety, insomnia, fatigue and a host of detrimental symptoms. Or so it seems.
Depression is not a death sentence
Depression is often viewed as incurable and considered a sign of weakness, especially for those who believe that they will lose everything once they come out. Those who do express their feelings, on the other hand, have probably heard replies such as, “Don’t lie, you’re the happiest person I know,” one too many times.
But that should not affect a person’s decision to seek help. The 2016 study found that more than three-quarters of people who had a mental disorder at least once in their lifetime did not seek professional help. This, coupled with the rise in lifetime prevalence of mental illness from 12 percent in 2010 to 13.9 percent in 2016 is cause for concern, especially when the consequence of not seeking help is potentially fatal.
From psychiatrists to psychologists, support groups to anonymous depression chat rooms; you name it, they’ve got it. Whatever the case may be, there are always ways to fight this illness. Those who suffer from depression should never say, in the words of Chester Bennington himself, “But in the end, it doesn’t even matter.”
Writer : Anthony Lim
Editor : Ling Weiming
Date of Publishing : 22/07/2019