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You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover: Depression

“You can’t judge a book by its cover” – We’ve all heard this before, and it is a metaphor I am reminded of in my day to day life. I think it is safe to say that we are all capable of judging others for the silliest of reasons… A haircut, clothing, and any number of the most superficial things.

The trouble with assumptions

The cliché about first impressions has some merit in the science as I understand, and fascinating as the study is, it does not mean we should always base our judgments on the superficial or just a brief or passing contact with others. If any one of us is prepared to form a solid and reliable assessment of another person based on a few words or appearances, most often, we are going to be wrong. I have been so wrong, and sure as day follows night, I will be wrong again in my snap assessment of others, as much as I know how flawed and unfair it is.

Recognizing depression

I want to talk about something serious, and that is when we have a brief encounter with someone who appears miserable or outwardly very unhappy. It can be a friend we have known a long time and we notice changes in their mood, becoming darker and sad or unhappy. These can be indicative of sadness caused by an event or change in their life that they have not openly made apparent to us. Sadness is one of a range of emotions we all experience in our day to day lives. It can be persistent or deeply affect our ability to function in what is considered a normal way, whatever our normal is. This is generally referred to as depression, or being depressed.

Depression & hepatitis C

Having experienced some bouts with sadness and depression myself, and most profoundly when I was undergoing treatment, it was an eye-opener for me. I had never felt the despair and level of hopelessness like that before or since. It was horrible, to put it plainly. If you have ever had to deal with depression, you know what I mean, and of course, we all experience things in our own unique way, but I can say it is unanimously considered awful.

These experiences gave me some insight into why some people I encountered appeared so sad, and how in reality could I know what was going on in their life. How could I judge them as merely grumpy, miserable people, as I had? Being mostly upbeat, it was never apparent just how horrible depression could make one feel, not ever having lived with it myself. It taught me again, that we should not judge people based on how they present in the moment. As it turns out, living in the moment was a tool I used to help deal with the oppressive sadness, and it was helpful.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.