How I Wish I Could Respond When Someone Doubts My Depression Is a Disability


“Is this your card?” The bus driver asks me.

“Yes,” I answer, knowing what comes next, handing him my ID card so I can show him it is indeed mine.

“But you don’t look disabled,” he says loud enough for the entire bus to hear.

I blush, embarrassed. I nod and walk into the bus, and sit down on the first empty chair, feeling everyone’s eyes boring into me.

But what I really want to do is say this:

Having depression is physically not being able to get out of bed most days.

Having depression is running to and from appointments all week.

Having depression is feeling an unbearable numbness, which can sometimes cause you to hurt yourself to be able to feel.

Having depression is having hardly any energy to get on with daily activities.

Having depression is not being able to sleep at night or sleeping too much.

Having depression is feeling too nauseous to eat at the best of times.

Having depression is feeling this huge ache in your chest and not knowing what’s causing it or how to get rid of it. Having depression is having a constant headache which no amount of painkillers will cure.

Having depression is feeling as if you’re holding 100 kilograms on your back and never being able to put it down.

If you think living like this isn’t considered living with a disability, then I don’t know what you think is.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via KatarzynaBialasiewicz


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Depression

woman signing contract wearing leather wristwatch

How to Make a Commitment to Depression Recovery

I have a cousin who’s exactly two weeks older than me. We’re twins more than we are cousins, and I can’t quite describe our bond except that we can seemingly read each other’s minds. She was married last April and I created this video which does a much better job of communicating our connection than [...]
woman standing at stairs looking down with hair covering face

Why I'm Scared of Feeling Happiness

All I’ve wanted for my entire life is to not feel anxious and to not feel depressed. I learned I can’t get rid of my anxiety or depression, but I at least wanted to be in control of it. It took me 20 years until I finally told my parents that I wanted to find [...]
female student reading text message on smartphone

How to Survive Your School Year If You Have a Mental Illness

This school year has been the hardest one for me. With a familial predisposition to depression and anxiety and loss of support systems on campus, I found myself celebrating my birthday in a mental health hospital. This school may or may not be the best place for me now. It is over two hours from [...]
man releasing glowing balloons and butterflies flock in the sky,illustration painting

How I Reclaimed What Was Mine From My Thief, Depression

I have become intimately acquainted with a thief. A thief that snakes through my mind without a care, kicking me down and vindictively tearing me away from everything I love. It robs me of my passion, absconds with my happiness and snatches my vitality. It creeps into my mind slowly, stealthily — a shoplifter pilfering [...]