Depression Is A Cancer of the Mind! Why Aren't We Taking It Just As Seriously?!

Editorial

Let Us Define Cancer

I know my title choice has probably raised an eyebrow, or perhaps even made you upset.. but please bear with me as I draw an analogy between cancer and depression.

Dictionary.com defines cancer as:

Allow me to draw your attention to that last definition: "a practice or phenomenon perceived to be evil or destructive and hard to contain or eradicate."

I think that last definition pretty much defines depression.  Depression is a phenomenon that is very destructive, and very hard to contain, let alone eradicate!  The dictionary-listed synonyms seem also seem to fit quite well.

Cancer as an Analogy for Depression

Cancer: When someone is diagnosed with cancer, amazing and horrible things happen.  They get referred to highly trained specialists that focus their entire careers and research in treating cancer.  A team of doctors, nurses, radiologists, nutritionists, and other health disciplines are arranged to help the patient get better.

Depression: the patient could certainly use a team of health professionals to help him/her combat depression.  This rarely happens until a time of crisis or suicide attempt.

Cancer: That patient may undergo chemotherapy, radiation therapy, radical surgery and other modalities to combat cancer.

Depression: The patient may get an antidepressant, may be referred for counselling.  Often either will not attend counselling or simply cannot afford it.

Cancer:  That patient will take the time needed off of work.  That patient will travel as far and wide as necessary to get the best help available.  

Depression:  The depressed patient will continue on as best they can in the same environment that made them ill.  Usually there are no alternatives offered by anyone.

Cancer: If necessary that patient will give up one or more body parts to survive.

Depression:  That patient usually fails to take action.

Cancer: The cancer patient is given high priority by the medical community, and likewise the patient places high value and priority on getting better, on fighting the cancer, so that they can go on living.

Depression:  Very little is done for this patient other than crisis intervention, medication, and possibly counselling if they are lucky.

Cancer: More often than not, the family of the cancer patient is supportive and motivating.

Depression:  Often the family does not know or is in denial.  Or the family simply doesn't know how to help.  Friends often shy away when in fact they are needed most.

Now let's talk about depression as a "cancer of the mind"...

Cancer is the result of uncontrolled replication of cells.  Depression is the result of uncontrolled replication of negative energy in the mind.

Cancer if left untreated is often fatal.  Depression can and often is just as fatal.

Cancer radically interferes with the patient's quality of life.  Depression definitely negatively, and often radically, affects the patient's quality of life.

Cancer treatment can take many weeks or months to be effective.  Depression treatment can be just as long or longer.

Cancer treatment is expensive.  Chemotherapy can cost many thousands of dollars.  Depression treatment can also be very expensive: hospitalization, counselling, psychotherapy, antidepressants and supplements.

So Why Isn't Depression Taken As Seriously? 

I've made the argument here that depression, in many ways, is similar to cancer.  Why then, is not taken as seriously?

Why does the patient not take it as seriously or fight it as hard as he/she would do for cancer?

Why does society support and almost idealize the battle against cancer and give a cold shoulder to the battle against depression?

Why does the medical community fail to rally as hard for the depressed as they do for the cancer-stricken?

And perhaps most sadly of all.. why does the depression patient often not have the loving support and motivation of their friends and family?

If you suffer with depression, please don't resign yourself to it.  Depression is every bit as serious as cancer.  Fight this battle as you would cancer.  

If you have a loved one who is fighting depression, give them the same love and support as you would if they were fighting cancer.

Whether it is cancer, or depression, the patients are fighting for their lives.  

I pray for the days when the cures for cancer and mental illness are discovered!

Until then, let us all be lights of hope for those fighting either of these battles.

 

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