It is often the case that we don’t consider depression as an actual disability. It is different than someone who must use a wheelchair to get around or someone who requires extra tools in order to learn. However, just like those individuals who require learning tools or assistive devices, depression is indeed a legitimate disability that should not be disregarded. Sadly, because it is an invisible illness, many either don’t see it or believe that there is another cause for how an individual is acting or not acting. For instance, someone who has to drag themselves out of bed to work who has low productivity all day long, may be suffering from depression. But on the outside, many won’t believe that individual is disabled because they cannot see the depression or do not recognize it as such. Perhaps they will believe that the individual just didn’t sleep well the night before. Just because someone can go outside and play, get themselves to work every day, or force a smile does not mean they are not disabled or are not suffering from a mental illness.
An individual who is experiencing depression will grapple with severe feelings of despair over a long period of time. Every single aspect of their life may be affected by it and this includes their health, their emotions, their physical well-being, their relationships and most definitely their work. Now just because an individual is suffering from depression, does not mean that they are cured if they have one particular day where they feel better. An individual can go through several rounds of feeling severe emotions of despair. Unfortunately, when one thinks of someone who is suffering from depression, they think of an individual who cannot: get out of bed, has a hard time interacting with others, has low-productivity, has trouble sleeping, has severe emotions of despair and loneliness and although this is on the more severe end of the spectrum, someone who only suffers from a few of these things are still just as disabled. An individual who suffers from this mental illness will have better days than others, but without proper treatment, they will continue to suffer from the condition.
Awareness of the disease needs to be increased and the recognition of what one sees as disabling needs to be brought to the forefront. Depression has many disabling effects, but what one person may see as disabling will be different from person to person and country to country.