Mental illness is an illness, but often it gets blown off or even ridiculed. Imagine if people with diabetes or heart disease were told to just get over it. And yet, people with mental illness are told this far too often.
I'm here to admit with some shame (although I should not feel ashamed) that I suffer from dysthymia, a version of depression. And I cannot tell you how many times people -good friends and family even- tell me to just get over it already. I've been told to just stop being so miserable, as if it is my choice. I even had someone close to me recently ask, "well, whatcha sad about? Nothing much? Then why are you depressed?" As if depression can only be triggered by a stressful or, well, depressing event. I was told to just "think of what you're grateful for and you will be cured". As if it were that easy.
Nowi certainly am aware of thepower of suggestion and thought. So sure, I did think of what I'm grateful for. And sure it put me in a better frame of mind, but I was still depressed. Sure, events can trigger depression and I can account for that, but again, you can have depression or other mental illness for no tangle reason. I know "thinking happy thoughts" can help distract my mind temporarily, but the mind does a dark snowball of macabre thoughts effect where the badness judt blossoms and becomes a thousand ton runaway train full of venemous fire breathing dragons.
If you know someone who is depressed, please don't treat it like a passing mood. It is a real disease. Talk to your friend and let them know you are there for them. You will listen to them cry at two in the morning if need be. You will offer hugs. A quiet restful and serene place to relax. Their favorite cookie and a nice book to read. A walk in the park to try and enjoy the beauty of nature and distract themselves for just a moment. Realize that while that person has some control over their moods, they cannot just cheer up and move on. Again, it is called mental illness because it is an actual illness many suffer with, in silence, for fear of ridicule or rejection. Be that gentle little firefly of light in their dark world.