21 Things People With Depression Don't Admit to Their Friends
A tragic contradiction of living with depression is while the darkness can make you push people away – it’s also when we need our friends the most. So how do we communicate this? How do we tell our friends what we need when in the thick of it, we might not even know?
To start a conversation about what people with depression need from their friends, we asked people living with depression in our mental health community to share one thing they don’t admit to their friends. Because our friends really do want to support us — and sharing the hard stuff can be a great first step in teaching them how.
Here’s what they shared with us:
1. “I hurt, every day. And that when I back out of plans or don’t respond to you. It’s not because I want to. It’s because covering up the hurt and sadness I feel every day and painting on a smile is exhausting and takes up all of my energy — so I isolate myself because it’s so much easier… but I would never tell you that!”
2. “I need them. I hate admitting I need help or I need someone, but if it’s one thing I need to survive my depressive episodes, then it’s my friends. Even if we sit in the same room on our phones, their presence is better than nothing.”
3. “I will always have bad days, so please don’t be disappointed when I succumb to the darkness after so many good days. Just support me the way you did at the start and don’t grow impatient with me.”
4. “Every time I pretend to be strong enough and help, everybody else pick up their pieces, and some of my own crack harder and deeper. But I can’t let anyone else help me. Cause I don’t want to be a burden.”
5. “Some days I can’t leave my bed, can’t shower, can’t change my clothes and brush my hair. I’m not gross. I’m not lazy. But I don’t want to be embarrassed because I physically can’t do things that seem so simple and mundane to many people.”
6. “I spend hours in bed daily, unable to force myself to get up and shower. Conquering the day or going to work always seems like getting ready for war.”
7. “My depression makes me feel like I ruin friendships. My friends say they’re there for me, but when I reach out, I feel like I’m being burdensome. Also, I don’t need you to try and ‘fix’ me, but I just need you to sit there in the darkness with me and maybe hold a flashlight or candle until I can hold it myself.”
8. “I need you. I push you away, but it’s not my intention. I may say things I don’t mean. I may seem like I don’t care, but I do. But you need to know, all you can do is hug and try to support me. You can’t cure my depression. I don’t need it. I just need someone to hold my hand and help me get through it. I don’t say it enough, but thank you. And don’t feel guilty, cause you can’t always make it better. Just being there for me shows a lot.”
9. “When I cancel plans, there is no ‘doctor’s appointment’ or ‘poorly baby’ or ‘other plans I forgot about.’ I just can’t face going outside and having to function.”
10. “I wish I was strong enough to admit the real brutality of it so I didn’t have to deal with it alone.”
11. “If I randomly text you, I need you. Even if it’s been months. I seclude myself, but once I initiate something please, please be there for me.”
12. “I don’t want to admit how comfortable I have gotten into it. It is tough trying to crawl out of it as I sit alone, wishing I hadn’t pushed everyone away long ago. It’s easier said than done to reach out and contact you again, as I secretly hope you’d say hi. I don’t want to bother you, I think you’re busy, so I carry on alone, waiting for the next moment of distraction.”
13. “I’m hurting. I feel trapped inside myself and have felt this way for over 10 years. Your words of encouragement, positivity, and advice are all well-intentioned; but just because I shoot down your advice and positivity, doesn’t mean I’m resisting your help. It just means I’ve either tried it already, heard it already, or it just won’t work from prior knowledge.”
14. “I actually do wish I could take you up on your, ‘I’m always here for you if you want to talk’ offers! But I don’t. Because I value your friendship, and I don’t want my depression to enter into it and ruin things. Been there; done that.”
15. “They have saved my life more than they know, and I don’t feel worthy of their love. Or that I can ever repay them. I feel forever in their debt. I’m afraid to share how bad depression and suicidal thoughts are, so I hide it.”
16. “I will always have those dark and twisted thoughts that put me in the hospital and residential treatment. I’m just too afraid to talk about them because I can’t handle losing another friend because of my depression.”
17. “I love and miss them, but sometimes just can’t do things. I can’t put on a happy face and pretend everything is OK when the demons in my head are telling me I’m worthless and nobody cares about me.”
18. “I lie a lot. I’ll never tell them how I actually feel because there are times that when I do show my true feelings it overwhelms them and I’m the one that needs to reassure them . I’ve been dealing with this myself for years so I just want them to live their lives and know I’m OK even if I’m not.”
19. “Almost every time when they have asked me, ‘Are you OK?’ and I’ve answered, ‘Just tired,’ I haven’t been just tired, I’m mentally and emotionally exhausted.”
20. “I sometimes have suicidal thoughts. I don’t share that information because I’m not actually suicidal (I never have been, death actually scares me) and I fear people will judge me for it.”
21. “Every time they make a joke about depression or even question if I’m being honest or ‘faking it,’ I can’t help but distance myself further. I don’t want my depression to be my defining ‘trait,’ but I need people I care about to acknowledge and respect such a big part of my life.”
If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.