A lack of Vitamin D or a lack of Empathy?
There is scientific research that found a correlation between Vitamin D and depression. However, that does not mean someone who is Vitamin D sufficient could never have depression. There are so many more factors to depression than Vitamin D. Such as trauma, abuse, childhood experiences, relationship status, financial status, etc.
Five years ago when I came out about my depression, most people approached me with love and support. However, I did have someone message me asking for reasons why I was so depressed. This is not an empathetic question to ask someone. I avoided the question and gave my reasoning for why I decided to share my story. I wanted to share my story around the holiday season because I remember people from my outpatient program saying that the holiday season is a very hard time for them and their depression. This person who asked me why I was depressed then told me it made sense because in the summer there is so much to do and that they heard all those things about lack of Vitamin D being a huge cause of depression.
I was left speechless and dumbfounded. I was beyond annoyed and then realized that some people truly do not understand depression. People don't have depression, necessarily, because they have nothing to do or because they have a deficiency in Vitamin D in the winter. People have depression for a number of reasons and can be depressed any month of the year.
It's sometimes there on your birthday, in the middle of a hot summer day, or sometimes on your busiest days. Also, for some people there is not one 'reason' for someone having depression other than them having an imbalance of serotonin in their brain. It’s not your place to ask someone why they’re depressed. Instead you can say things like, if you ever want to talk about things I’m here for you.
There needs to be a better understanding in the world about depression. People can still suffer from depression in the summertime when they are getting plenty of Vitamin D. Chances are they have it in every month of the year, but you just don't know it. People who suffer from depression need more empathy. If people felt more understood then they might be more open to share their mental illness with others. So, if you are reading this, I hope you reach out to that friend who has depression and tell them you love them instead of asking questions or placing blame on a season or vitamin deficiency.