I think that we all probably know many people who suffer from depression. You may not realize they are suffering as severely as they are though, because depression is an illness that carries so much with it. Many people who suffer from this illness are embarrassed and ashamed, they don't want to let people in to help them, yet that is sometimes the help they need to get past it. Why are they embarrassed? Because of the stigmas attached to it, and the anxiety over what people will think of them, how and whom they will discuss it with behind their backs, or that they will be treated differently.
Sometimes tragic or stressful events take place in our lives, and people expect a certain amount of depression to come with that. It's kind of the "socially acceptable" period for depression. There aren't any written guideline for how long you are "allowed" to be depressed over the situation before people start to think you have a problem, but there definitely is a point where people sometimes think you need to just suck it up and get over it.
I read a post at Hope Despite Depression, where the author talks about how her depression was so debilitating that she has needed to get disability benefits as she battles to fight her illness. She and many other people that suffer from this illness do not need the added stress of worry over what other people think of them, as they fight their battle. This is a major point of irritation with me when I hear people judging the depressed and mentally ill. They did not choose this illness, but hopefully they have accepted it's presence and are able to fight it. What people need is love and support.
With the 30 Day Giving Challenge approaching, I hope you will choose to give your gift of love and support to at least one person in your life that is battling depression. It could be a gift, a handwritten note of encouragement and love, a hot meal at dinner time, a hug or a phone conversation, anything that lets them know that they have your non-judgmental support. If you are suffering from depression and someone offers you support, give yourself a gift of allowance to accept it.