When I Heard Someone Say Some Depressed People 'Don't Want to Get Better'

Last night I heard a comment that, at the moment, hurt my feelings. The comment was not directed at me, so after stewing for a few minutes, my attitude changed from hurt to just plain sad. Sad about the gap that exists between those with depression and those without.

The comment was about how some depressed people don’t want to get better because they get used to feeling that way, so they just don’t try. Wow. But for those of us with clinical depression (or anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc.), more often than not we do want to get better. That is why we take our medications and go to therapy. Just like patients get treatment and have follow-up visits with their doctors. The list could go on of conditions that are medical and are, therefore, medically treated.

The general population doesn’t seem to get that it’s one and the same with depression. This to me is just ignorance and misinformation. There is a gap between what people think they know about depression and what depression is really like. I think that gap exists for two reasons: One is, like I mentioned before, ignorance and misinformation. It’s when people believe we’re just having a bad day and need to snap out of it. The second reason is you probably can’t understand depression if you have never experienced true clinical depression.

“Mind the gap” is a popular expression. It’s a warning to train passengers to use caution when crossing the gap between train doors and the station platform. We as a society need to mind the gap between those who are depressed and those who are not. Those of us with depression need to be more involved in educating people about what clinical depression is, what it feels like, and how we fight every day to feel better. To feel happy. To feel alive. We don’t want to feel this way because we are used to it. Our brain is sick.

And those without depression need to get educated before making blanket statements about depression. Get to know the difference between clinical depression and moods that seem depressed. Get educated, show some compassion, and figure out ways to help someone you know who has depression rather than criticize them. Mind the gap.

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