True friends should be able to talk to each other about anything — dark secrets, embarrassing moments and confessions too personal to post on social media.
Still, even for the closest of friends, it can be hard to talk about depression. The isolation, the fog and the utter internal nature of depression makes it hard to open up, especially when you’re in the thick of it.
We asked our Mighty community what they wish their friends understood about living with depression.
If you know someone with depression, this might help you understand:
1. “I don’t have the energy it takes to be a terrific friend sometimes. When my depression is active, even putting on socks takes a lot of effort. Please be patient with me — I’m exhausted.” —
2. “Even though it seems like I have every reason in the world to be happy, I may still be enveloped in the dark cloud of depression.” —
3. “Saying ‘I’m a little depressed today’ is hurtful to me. I don’t get ‘a little depressed’ — it’s all encompassing, a black hole.” —
4. “I wish they’d understand when you push me away because I don’t talk as much, I really need you to be pulling me closer.” —
5. “I’m not down all the time — there are times when I’m positive. Embrace and celebrate these times rather than focusing on my negativity when I’m at my lowest.” —
6. “Don’t take my actions personally. Putting on a strong front and putting all my energy into making it through my day takes a lot out of me. When I cancel plans or say I just can’t today, it’s not because I don’t love you or want you in my life. I’m just exhausted.” —
7. “If one more person says, ‘I get sad sometimes, too’ or ‘Other people have it way worse,’ I’m going to scream. I can’t help this constant feeling of dread and despair. I’m not having a pity party or a momentary lapse. This is my default state.” —
8. “Relationships are so hard now. My heart still yearns for them, but my head and body can’t deal with it.” —
9. “I try to hide my depression so others aren’t uncomfortable.” —
10. “Just because I said ‘no’ to an invitation (or two or three) doesn’t mean I want you to stop inviting me. Just because I look OK doesn’t mean I don’t need your help.” —
11. “I won’t reach out when I’m struggling because I don’t want to upset you or be a burden. I don’t like people worrying about me, even if they should be.” — Chelsea Noelani Gober
12. “Living with depression comes with an amount of isolation that many can’t grasp. We are not intentional on hurting our friends; we really do love you as a friend, but sometimes we just can’t.” —
13. “Depression physically and emotionally hurts. Sometimes we just need someone to simply be with us. Not to talk or fix it, but just to be with us… in the moment, no matter how painful it is.” —
14. “I don’t need to be fixed. I just need them to be there, love me and be on my side.” —
15. “I do love you, more than I could ever express. I want to (or at least I want to want to) interact with you so our relationship can grow. But depression is like a chain keeping me from reaching out.” —
16. “I’m so grateful you stuck with me, through good days and bad. I love my friends and family to the end of the world, and I wish more than anything they understood just how thankful I am to have them in my life.” — Brittany Berlin
17. “Even though I’m sad, grumpy, angry and distant, I really, really need them. I need to be invited to dinner, even if I can’t promise I’ll be good company.” —
18. “I really do want to get better. It’s a war — a painful, exhausting, consuming war, and I’m trying to win.” —
19. “It’s not that I’m unhappy with you — I’m unhappy with everything. But it’ll pass, so hold on.” —
20. “Sometimes having conversations, in real life or online, is exhausting. Being around people is exhausting. So when I pull away, I’m just trying to regroup because my already messed up brain is super fried and needs a break.” —
21. “When I cancel plans last minute or don’t contact you, it doesn’t mean I’m mad. It’s taking everything I’ve got just to function.” —
22. “Depression isn’t contagious.” —
23. “Smiles don’t always mean everything is OK.” —
24. “Avoiding talking about my depression doesn’t make it go away — it actually makes it a little worse because I feel less connected. I don’t want to talk about depression all the time, but if I feel like I can’t talk about (because people change the subject quickly or refuse to talk about it at all) I lose a member of my support system.” —
25. “I miss them.” —
26. “When the anxiety and depression are battling each other I have a war zone in my head. Concentrating on anything to get through the day is sometimes the hardest thing I do… Being mad and making me feel guilty does not make anything better.” —
27. “Depression is a disease of isolation. When I’m retreating is precisely when I need you most.” —
*Some responses have been edited and shortened for brevity.