26 Truths People Living With Depression Wish Others Understood
Roughly 10 percent of Americans live with depression at some point in their lives, but the illness still faces a stigma. Negative stereotypes and a lack of understanding about depression can discourage people from talking about their mental health and from seeking treatment.
To help open up a conversation, we asked our readers living with depression to share one thing they wish others understood about it.
Here’s what we learned.
1. “Depression is just as real an illness as diabetes or heart disease. It must be treated with due care, because one of the serious side effects is suicide.” — Elizabeth Rose
2. “It’s not only my mood that’s ‘depressed.’ Energy levels, motivation, feeling of self-worth and self-restraint are all affected as well. It doesn’t mean I’m lying in bed crying all day, especially as a mom of two young kids. I’m doing my best to be as functional as possible. Instead of ‘sad,’ I may seem irritable or short-tempered, for which I probably feel guilty as hell.” — Katherine Intven Tyndall
3. “My point of view, while colored by a lifetime of depression, is just as valid as those of cheerful people.” — Beebop Beebopareebop
4. “Being depressed is much different than being sad.” — Laura Sloate
5. “One just can’t ‘snap out of it.’” — Tommy Sorg
6. “It’s the same as a broken leg. No amount of happy thoughts and being positive will sort it out.” — Julia Ann Kerr
7. “Oftentimes I recognize that what I’m feeling is irrational or ‘silly,’ but I can’t just make the feeling go away.” — Mary Salemi
8. “It’s real, and it does exist. It doesn’t just walk away.” — Tisha Speckman-Lane
9. “It’s not a constant. Some days and weeks are bad. Others are just fine.” — Nancy Halpern Lesser
10. “Sometimes people need to take antidepressants for the rest of their lives. And that’s OK!” — Stacy Benstock Klein
11. “Despite knowing others live with depression and anxiety, you feel alone.” — Melissa Marcasciano McKeown
12. “Simple tasks are so much harder when you live with depression. Cleaning the house, running to the store or even holding up a conversation can be a mission for us. As adults, we’re expected to suck it up and go to college, go to work and make something of ourselves. It’s difficult when you can’t even get yourself out of bed most days. I’m not lazy; I’m sick.” — Michayla Nicole Rasmussen
13. “You cannot cure someone’s depression by making them feel guilty about it.” — Chelsea Noelani Gober
14. “Crying is strength, not weakness.” — Christie Marie
15. “Not everyone who’s depressed ‘looks’ depressed. The worst depressive episode I’ve ever had lasted about three years. I was peppy, dressed nice, participated in clubs and got good grades for almost the entirety of it.” — Emily Dotterer
16. “Depression hits every age group and gender. It’s not just for middle-aged or older people — younger people can have it too. And both men and women can have it.” — Sharky Gothica
17. “Depression is like an onion. Peel each layer away and you’ll start to see why someone is the way they are. You can’t just pick yourself up — you need love, support and kindness. Calling someone lazy isn’t going to make a person with depression get out of bed; it’ll just give them one more thing to dwell on and feel awful about.” — Chanel DeSimone
18. “Antidepressants can save lives. It’s not a conspiracy of ‘big pharma.’” — Laurie Jane Free
19. “Getting up, going to work, cleaning the house and taking care of the family can be a monumental success.” — Cynthia Nichols
20. “It is not in any way a weakness of my character.” — Becky Lyn Carey
21. “[I wish] people understood your depression is in no way a reflection on your love for them.” — Heather Donlin-Monica
22. “Sometimes, nothing helps.” — Nan Hall-Benton
23. “The cruelest words in the English language can be, ‘Pull yourself together.’ Living with depression is a sign of immense strength and bravery and not of weakness and cowardice.” — Ruth Wootton
24. “Sometimes you wake up and just cannot face the world. There’s no rhyme or reason for this; it’s just part of the illness.” — Jenny Reilly
25. “Mostly, you cannot explain why you feel bad. It’s just there.” — Dee Mt Tusch
26. “I’m not crazy.” — Otelia A. Schwartz
What would you add? Tell us in the comments below.
*Some answers have been shortened and edited.
If you or someone you know needs help, see our suicide prevention resources.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
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