The Mighty Logo

Why I Don't Like Hearing 'It Gets Better' When I'm Depressed

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

If you have ever had a tragedy of any magnitude in your life occur, you have probably heard that “it gets better.”

This phrase has never comforted me. To me, it sounds like a motivational poster out of a doctor’s office. There is a reason that people don’t read those.

Telling me that in some distant future things aren’t as crappy as they are now is so frustrating to me. If it can get better, why isn’t it? Why have I gone months at a time in deep spells of depression? Why am I at war with myself 24/7?

I know you mean well when you tell us that. I don’t blame you for not having the experience to know that “it gets better” is for me the most overused, least effective and flat thing you can say to someone with depression.

People who struggle with any type of mental illness sometimes feel stuck in a prison of our own making and we don’t know when we are getting out. All we know is we feel like we have no control, and that we feel all alone.

If you want to offer your support — tell us you’re always there to talk. A shoulder to cry on is a thousand times better than an empty promise. We want someone to be available to talk to. We want to know we aren’t all alone even though it seems like we are.

Depression puts you in a vulnerable state. Its almost like being stuck in the dark. You hear everything people tell you, but you can’t do anything about it. We are stuck in our own heads, unprotected against the attacks of this fallen world.

The truth is, we don’t want it to get better. We want it to be better. If it were up to me, I would wake up in a perfect world with no pain, no depression, no anxiety, only happiness. Maybe someday the world will feel like that again, but right now it doesn’t.

So sit with me. Ride out the storm. Don’t tell me that somewhere there is a beach where we can rest. Take me there.

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

Thinkstock photo via Marjan_Apostolovic

Originally published: March 14, 2017
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home