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4 Questions to Ask Yourself If You're Afraid to Admit You Have Depression

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There’s no question about it. Admitting you’re struggling with depression is a hard thing to do. Even after all the highly publicized struggles about depression of beloved celebrities like Jon Hamm, Ashley Judd or Owen Wilson, there is still such a stigma regarding those who struggle with depression.

The stigma of depression is mostly due to the negative nature of the illness. I get why so many are afraid to admit they’re struggling with depression, but you are not alone.

I am one of those people. I haven’t been ready to admit I am experiencing depression. Depression lies to you, and you feel like you are all alone. I have struggled in silence for far too long, thinking I was hiding and protecting those I loved. In reality, it was obvious to those who loved me that something wasn’t right.

My husband has felt the difference as I stopped engaging in intimacy. My children experienced the desperate hold depression has had on me as I stopped wanting to go out and play with them. My body was negatively affected because I stopped going out and enjoying the fresh air. I remained inside for days on end sitting, sleeping and sometimes rarely showering.

I haven’t been ready to admit it is depression, until now.

Here are things that might be holding you back from talking about your depression.

1. Do you think your depression is a choice?

The symptoms of a mental disorder aren’t voluntary. No one chooses to feel sad, numb or perpetually stressed to the point of living days on end in isolation. No one chooses to sleep all day, have their body ache in pain and miss living life with their family. No one chooses to go days without showering or eating.

These are all behavioral symptoms of depression. Your depression is not a choice. Yes, you have the choice to overcome each of these in the moment by moment, but sometimes it is too much to do alone.

2. Do you think you can handle it all by yourself and it will just go away?

Depression is not a phase that just goes away on its own. Most people who struggle with depression the first time have a difficult time realizing they are depressed. Sometimes, it has to be pointed out by someone close to them. In order to successfully remedy depression, it first must be identified.

While there are different kinds of depression, which require different levels of treatment, all usually require the intervention of psychotherapies or personal interaction with an unbiased and trained counselor. For most individuals, if you have had a depressive episode, you are more likely to deal with another in the future. We need each other to help identify and encourage appropriate treatment for this highly treatable and common disorder.

3. Are you afraid of being misunderstood, judged or that you’ll receive backlash from friends and family?

Anyone can become depressed. Depression is not a disorder that affects only one part of the population. Regardless, there still often remains misunderstanding from friends and family when you admit you have depression.

Since anyone can become depressed, you do not need to fear the judgment of others as their judgment is unfounded and untrue. Those who make judgments against you are just as likely to become depressed at some point in their lives.

4. Are you are afraid of the changes you’ll have to make to overcome and become healthy?

Even if you have admitted to yourself that you are depressed, you may be dragging your feet in admitting it to others. You don’t want to change the unhealthy patterns you’ve created for yourself while depressed. We lie to ourselves in depression and tell ourselves isolation and eating all the chocolate is OK.

You need others in your life. You need to get out. You need to eat healthy foods and make healthy choices. When we decide we are content with our depressive circumstances, we resist the necessary changes needed to become healthy.

If you can relate to these reasons why you aren’t ready to admit it is depression, then I urge you to reconsider your reasons. Call a friend or loved one and admit it today. Although there is momentary uncomfortableness, you will experience freedom in admitting your struggle with depression. I know I have. Remember, depression is a liar. You are not alone.

Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: August 26, 2016
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