“Because I am one of them”

Flight 4U9525, the medias coverage and society has another idea what depressions must be like. A widespread disease labeled with the idea of suicide. But is that all? Hannah tells you her story. Hannah tells you more.

I still remember the rainy morning on the 24th of March when I heard about the happenings in the french Alps on the 9 a.m. news. A plane of Germanwings, flight 4U 9525, 150 dead occupants, a co-pilot named Andreas Lubitz that deliberately piloted his machine into a deathly end.
Through the day I checked out the different television channels, gathering a wide range of information enlightened this unbelievable catastrophe. They say that he was tainted with psychological issues, they say he had depressions, they say he had suicidal . Thus, just another case that adds to a stereotypical picture of this widespread disease. Depressions equals suicide That is what people think. It makes me angry how the media and society construct this one sided picture, how they label affected people with their assumptions and stereotypes. Why it bothers me that much? Because I am one of them.

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Examination of the debris of flight 4U9525

I am pretty sure you want to know what it feels like. Let me tell you.
Depression has many faces. Most people simply describe it with being in a very low mood, to be “down“, having a psychological crisis. But there is more about its symptoms. I mainly experience ongoing thoughts and worries in my head. Sometimes it comes with headaches, sometimes it is just permanently there and arouse feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness. Especially during the winter this darkness increases and makes me stay inside. I remember those times when I met up with my friends during this time of the year, going to christmas markets, baking cookies together with my girls. All this joy is gone. I am alone.
Especially on this day, when media covered this horrible plane crash, I felt very powerless, slept until 11, cancelled work. Again. I had several naps during the day. Sleeping is just my ultimate way of escaping from the things a round me. Some might call it hyper sleeping. For me it is just a way of shutting down the world.
When they sent the 12 a.m. news, I had a whole box of cookies in my hands. These american ones. Another newscast at 5 p.m. and I was eating a bag of chips. I have these days when I just eat tones of food, mainly really fatty or sugary stuff.

Some of you might want to ask: “Did you ever thought of suicide?“ One of the questions that always comes up when mentioning my psychological illness. I heard it so many times from people that I opened up to. I can not hear that anymore! But yes, unfortunately I do know people that have a different perspective. Susan, my friend that I met through group therapy (yes, I do therapy!) is different. She has problems with insomnia caused by all those thoughts in her head. When I think of her, I always remember how she said once “maybe it would be better if I would not be here anymore.“.

For a really long period the topic of depressions seemed like a tabu topic. Quite a few might say “this is just an illness for really weak people“ Something that just affects losers. But time showed that more and more people dare to show their struggling. Among them also prominent people such as Catherine Zeta-Jones or Mel Gibson.
According to the german foundation of depression support “9 percent of the adult men and 17 percent of the adult women in Europe fall ill for depressions at least once in their lifetime“ Dr. Shaw explains this incidence with isolation, identity crisis and information overload which is strongly represented in the western world.

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Team mates grieve fro Robert Enke

However, after all this increasing public attention which encourages people to open op, it has to be questioned if today’s media is ready to deal with such a complex disease. Happenings such as the german goal keeper Robert Enke who took his own life in 2009, obtained enormous media coverage. Also the movie “Helen“ by Sandra Nettelbeck (2009) telling the story of a successful women that sinks into depressions, links this topic more than ones to suicide. Finally, now in 2015 we have the case of Andreas Lubitz who crashes the Airbus A320-211 and thereby claims the life of 150 innocent people.
All these cases and their media coverage can be held accountable for the image of this psychological disorder and makes life tougher for people like me. We are confronted with prejudice. Fellows think that we could be unpredictable or dangerous, because of our disease. Just because we are different.

Let me tell you, it is not an equation, it is not depressions equals suicide. Sometimes I also have days that I am happy to be on this planet. Happy moments that let me smile (yes, I do smile!). To all those people that experience prejudice or a feeling of being labeled as suicidal: Be strong, they just do not know it any better!

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