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The Symptom of Depression We Don't Often Hear About

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One symptom of depression I don’t think is talked about enough is guilt. There are many reasons a person who is depressed might feel guilty. Here are a few of the reasons and why you shouldn’t feel guilty.

1. Feeling guilty for being alive.

You may truly feel the people around you are better off without you. You may feel like an inconvenience or a burden. You are not a burden. Anyone who says you are doesn’t deserve to be in your life. Everyone has their own individual needs. Yours may happen to be needing a little extra emotional support when you’re depressed. You shouldn’t feel guilty for being alive. There is no one out there like you. There is no one with the same talents and interests and personality. Only you can be you. There are things in your future for you to accomplish. There are things in your future for you to stay alive for.

2. Feeling guilty for getting help because you’re not “depressed enough.”

There is no scale. There is no measure of depression. There is no point where you can say, “OK, now it’s bad enough. Now I need help.” If you feel you need help, then you deserve help. Don’t wait for it to get worse. Don’t feel guilty for getting help because everyone needs a little help sometimes.

3. Feeling guilty because you believe you “shouldn’t be depressed.”

You may feel like you’ve had a good life. You may feel like other people have it much worse. You may not understand why you feel depressed. You may feel like you don’t deserve to be depressed. You may feel like since your life has been OK so far, there’s no reason you should be depressed. There are two reasons why you shouldn’t believe those things. The first is it doesn’t matter if someone else has it worse. You’re hurting, and your feelings are valid. There’s a quote that says, “Telling someone they shouldn’t feel sad because someone else has it worse is like telling someone they shouldn’t feel happy because someone else has it better.” The second reason is there doesn’t have to be a reason you feel depressed. Some people know their triggers. Some people don’t. Some people don’t even have specific triggers. Depression affects everyone differently. Although it can be triggered by outside events, it is not dependent on something bad happening. You are allowed to feel depressed for no reason.

As for getting rid of the guilt that comes with depression, I’m still working on it. The important thing to remember is none of this is your fault. Guilt implies you have done something wrong. You haven’t done anything wrong. Therefore, you have nothing to feel guilty for.

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 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Thinkstock photo via marcogobbi0.

Originally published: August 8, 2017
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