When a person is depressed they can easily experience unhappiness as well as other symptoms for months or even years without there being a trigger.”
She added that mental illnesses are just as legitimate as medical illnesses.
“It is ridiculous to suggest that all mental illnesses are simply ‘normal’ human emotions and behaviors,” Tracy said. “Mental illnesses are like every other illness – they hurt people’s wellbeing and need to be corrected in order for a person to live a healthy life. Talking to people who aren’t there, harming oneself, the inability to get out of bed for months at a time, thinking you a Jesus Christ – none of these are reasonable ‘normal’ states for a human being.”
She argued that diagnoses can help people take charge of their lives.
“The label of a mental disorder does not make a person weaker nor does it remove personal responsibility – it actually does the opposite,” Tracy said. “A mental illness diagnosis makes a person stronger as they can now take control of their health in a real, positive way. They are now more responsible for their own health as they must seek out and adhere to treatment in order to get better.”
In my personal experience, I have been diagnosed multiple times with depression, so I am one of the many people this book speaks to. Since I was diagnosed in childhood, it does hurt to some extent to hear that what I was going through was comparable to the general population, because I have a feeling that is inaccurate.
But at the same time, I am now an adult and have managed to keep my depression under control for the most part by just accepting it and realizing that some days won’t be as productive as others and requesting help when I need it, and by exercising, sleeping more, eating healthier and socializing with more positive people.
I still identify somewhat with the depression label, but not nearly as much as I did when I was younger, partly because I don’t feel the need to see a therapist or take antidepressants because they never really worked for me to begin with.