Based on statistics by the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimate of 17.3 million adults in the united states have experienced at least one major depressive episode. Living with depression is tough, especially when you are around people that do not understand your symptoms. So, as a friend or relative to someone suffering from depression, educating yourself to understand them is crucial. Here are nine things people with depression want you to know to understand them better.
It Is Not A Mood They Can Snap Out Of
Depressive episodes feel like being pulled by a magnet. No matter how hard you try to fight it, it doesn’t go away. Instead, it pulls you in. It feels like a constant exhausting battle with no way out, so when people say snap out of it, you just feel more frustrated.
There isn’t Always a Reason Why I am Feeling Depressed
Although there can be triggers for depression, there isn’t a specific reason you are feeling down continuously. Most people that do not understand the illness expect a reason and demand answers. We can’t always explain how we feel or why we feel that way.
I am Not Sad, I am Depressed
Sadness is a normal emotion everyone feels in response to bad news. Depression, on the other hand, is a sadness that persists over time that could cause personality changes.
It Isn’t Within My Control
Most people believe that happiness is a choice and we can decide to be happy at any time. However, depression isn’t within our control. I would not choose to continually be in a “mood” and push people away. I’d rather be happy, but I can’t help it.
We Only Push You Away Because We Feel Like a Burden
Being sad always and seeming like the buzzkill all the time makes one feel like an inconvenience. It makes us want to isolate ourselves from people so that we don’t ruin their mood along with ours. However, family and friends need to understand that and be compassionate and reassuring enough to let us know that they realize that we carry a burden. They also need to remind us that we aren’t a burden to them, as this will create a safe zone for us to be ourselves.
Little Victories Are Achievements to Us
While many people have big goals like passing a quiz or getting a promotion, we just want to get out of bed or talk to someone about how we feel. Celebrating such achievements with us makes us feel like we are on our way to recovery.
Everyday Isn’t Always a Bad Day
Although it seems like we are always down, that is not always the case. When we do something and feel like we are in control, it gives rise to good days for us. Depression sometimes feels like a rollercoaster of emotions with many bad days and some good days. You need to understand that having a good day does not automatically mean that we are over how we feel. It just means that we are better and don’t feel like we are drowning.
Your Kind Words and Help is Something We Sincerely Appreciate
Knowing what to do and how to help is hard, and we understand this because we feel that way most of the time. But the thought that you are trying your best to help is something we appreciate. We are also grateful for your kind words and understanding, and just because we cannot clearly express our gratitude doesn’t imply it does not mean a lot to us.
We are Also Doing Our Best to Recover
Struggling with depression is a lot of work. It requires choosing the path of recovery over and over again. We need professional help, therapy, or antidepressants in some cases. We cannot just ignore it and hope it goes away, so as a friend or family member, one gift you can give is standing by us through the process of recovery.
From the perspective of someone suffering from depression, understanding is beneficial. Knowing these things will help you be a better friend or family member and give them the courage to fight the dark abyss that always pulls them in.
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