23 Reasons You Might Not Notice Your Friend Has Depression
It’s wonderful to have a community that “gets it.” People who know the signs and symptoms of depression, and who can recognize it in others, empathizing with those struggling with it. However, we know not everyone has friends, family or co-workers who do get it, and it’s harder to have a conversation about depression with people who don’t understand. It’s so much easier to hide.
Because of this, friends and family members might not even know you’re living with depression. Whether because you’re actively trying to hide it, or because the signs are just too subtle, it can isolating when no one knows — let alone, understands — what you’re going through.
So, we asked our community members to tell us one reason their friends might not be able to tell they’re struggling with depression.
Here’s what they had to say:
1. “I feel like a burden when I open up about my problems to them. I could be on the edge of suicide (and have been) and I won’t reach out because I ask myself, ‘What if that just makes this about attention?’ Everyone always says suicide is about attention. That’s never the issue though. And yet it keeps me from making that call or sending that text. That fear of being a burden, or that maybe this really is just in my head and I just want attention.” –Amber V.
2. “After years of practice I have become very good at plastering a smile on my face in front of my friends and acting as if I’m fine. On the outside I look as if I am functioning normally whilst in fact, I’m falling apart inside.” — Vicki C.
3. “Some people just don’t care enough to ask why you act a certain way. And when you’ve had depression over a long stretch of years, most people only know the depressed you. They just assume it is your personality. Things like tardiness and canceling get togethers are seen as irresponsible or rude or anything other than as symptoms of an illness.” — Sandra P.
4. “Because at first they all knew. I showed signs of depression. But suddenly, I started losing more friends because of it. They were scared and didn’t know how to respond to me. So now, in order to not scare anyone off, I have to suffer in silence just to please them. But it kills me to know that once I try to speak out, it only makes things worse.” — Cameron D.
5. Everyone assumes depression is moping out loud at all hours of the day, getting bed sores from never getting up and wearing black all the time with tears rolling down your cheeks. They want to see that in order for them to believe you’re depressed. They need to see that typical, cookie cutter vision of depression. If they don’t see that, then I am considered a poser seeking attention, weird or lazy. I have received those answers before so my, ‘I feel sad today,’ and my ‘I don’t want to do anything today,’ turned into ‘I feel tired,’ and ‘I’m sick and I can’t go anywhere.’ — Karla G.
6. “I overcompensate with happiness and focus on other people’s problems before my own. I hate opening up to people because I feel like a burden and like my problems are less than everyone else’s, so I need to make everyone else happy before I can tell people. I never end up telling people even if I have a breakdown.” -Ambra D.
7. “Because they won’t let me talk. They come and tell me what they want to say, then leave. The other reason is I was brought up not to show my emotions. This is a cultural difference. We read between lines. We don’t have to say and have to be able to understand each other’s emotions. But here in Europe, if you don’t say, they don’t understand. I used to explain this to people around me, but I gave up, as they won’t understand. They listened to me, but continue exactly the same as before. They told me I was too sensitive. So now I don’t talk about it.” — Riko S.
8. “I struggle alone in my head. I very rarely speak about any of the stuff going on up there. I do stay away from people more when I’m going through bad times.” — Michelle M.
9. “I push them away. I don’t have friends. I feel like I annoy them with my friendship. -Damaris A.