Healthy Living

Reminder: 'Blue Monday' Is Not A Real Thing -- But Depression Is

Just a friendly PSA.
Mondays? Not a symptom of depression.
Mondays? Not a symptom of depression.

Each year, a corner of the Internet goes ablaze with posts on "Blue Monday" -- the third Monday in January -- which is believed to be the most depressing day of the year.

Cliff Arnall, a UK psychologist, claimed that he had developed a formula to predict the sad date. The equation accounts for the weather, a person's post-holiday debt and the dismal feelings that occur after the holidays conclude, according to the BBC.

We hate to be the spoilers of pseudo-sadness (actually, we don't), but there is absolutely no such thing as the most depressing day of the year. And, in fact, Arnall himself has since retracted the work.

There is no scientific evidence that backs up the claim that one particular day is the most horrible out of all 365 days in a given year. But, since we're talking about depressing days, we might as well talk about depression. You know, the mental illness. For those who experience the condition, it comes around a heck of a lot more than just one Monday a year.

Approximately 350 million people worldwide are affected by depression. The disorder is also the leading cause of disability globally, according to the World Health Organization. The symptoms are debilitating, from physical ailments like headaches to emotional issues like a loss of motivation. If left untreated, it can lead to suicide.

It is common to hear mental health related terms thrown around in a colloquial manner. If you're hyper-organized, you're "OCD." If you change your mind, you're "bipolar." And if you're sad because it's the third Monday in January, you're "depressed."

Not only does this behavior promote a casual attitude toward mental illness, it actually deepens the stigma the mental health community is working so hard to eradicate. Many people with depression feel ashamed or judged because of their condition. And given the astounding statistics on how many people the illness affects, making light of it is nothing short of insensitive.

Bottom line: Depression doesn't just appear one day out of the year and disappear the next. It doesn't matter if it's Blue Monday or Throwback Thursday.

If certain days -- or every day -- are particularly hard for you, it might be time to talk to a mental health professional (and a friendly side note: there's absolutely nothing wrong with doing that). Otherwise, you may want to think twice before you purchase that wine, chocolate or whatever vice lets you "wallow" over the fact it's Blue Monday.

Or go ahead and buy them -- but just because you want to, not because you're "depressed."


Also on HuffPost:

11 Quotes That Perfectly Sum Up The Stigma Surrounding Mental Illness