Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 17 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Monday, February 4, 2008

How to overcome depression

Over the past few days, I have learned that there are, within any 24-hour period, several hundred thousand people searching for the following:

how to overcome depression
depression - how to overcome it
how to defeat depression
how to beat depression
how to get over depression
how to survive depression
depression - how to get over it
depression - how to find out you have it
how to know if you have depression
a short quiz to know you have depression
how to find tests for depression
free online tests for depression
how to live with depression
how to live with a teenager with depression
how to live with a spouse with depression
how to help someone with depression ...
and finally, there are thousands of others looking for online chat rooms for depression and anxiety.

Wow! Does anyone see a theme here?

Just as interesting, I found there are an abundance of web-sites purporting to answer these questions. Or is it really just one question in multiple forms? My question is, do they? Do the 30-40,000 sites already available answer the above questions? Can people be helped, and helped appropriately, through online searches? Obviously, I hope so.

Besides their common theme, another thing about these searches grabbed my attention. The terms people used. The search terminology used actually disturbs me quite a bit. Why are people going to the internet to "find out" if they have depression, and how to "get over" it? Did you notice nobody was looking for a cure? Here we have a biological, treatable condition that people want to "get over." I wonder if there are any searches being done on "how to get over cancer?" I wonder if anyone is marketing a "short quiz" to cancer patients? Can you imagine? Why is it okay to seek expert MD diagnosis for possible cancer, but self-analysis through an online "short-quiz" is preferred for probable depression? Stigma. And what do you do once your short quiz reveals the terrible truth? It is depression. Now what? Does the short quiz direct you to a short MD for a short cure? Stigma.

Because of stigma, 50 percent of all mental illnesses go undiagnosed, and undiagnosed depression is the number one cause of suicide. Stigma allows health insurance companies to limit coverage for mental illnesses, so even the diagnosed go untreated. Mentally ill individuals are fired from their jobs because of stigma. And it is stigma that leads suffering individuals to search for diagnosis and treatment online rather than in a doctor's office.

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