What I Wish People Knew About Depression

Jennifer E. Engen

Depression is misunderstood and stigmatized by many. Since you can’t see depression, it is hard for others to understand what it feels like. This causes many people without experience to judge others with depressive symptoms. There are some things I wish people knew about depression that I have learned over the years.

If you struggle with depression, then I want you to know this.

You are not your illness. Your defining factor is not that you have depression. You are made up of so many other wonderful things, let those define you.

You can live a beautiful life with depression. Just as you shouldn’t define yourself to depression, you shouldn’t define your life to it either. You will get out of this depressive episode. You won’t feel this way forever. There are many resources to help you live a functioning and full life.

Advocate for yourself. If you know you need help, seek it. If you are unable to seek support on your own, communicate to someone that you need help. There are many resources to get you started. If someone doesn’t believe you, keep advocating for yourself.

You don’t need to have a “reason” to be depressed. External factors such as money, material items, status, and jobs don’t prevent someone from becoming depressed. Depression can affect anyone, regardless of your circumstances.

You don’t have to have it “bad enough” to seek help. If you feel depression affecting your everyday life, then seeking help can make a difference. You don’t need validation from others on your struggles to improve your mental health.

Surround yourself with positive people that make you feel GOOD. You absorb the energy around you, so if you surround yourself with negative people, it will make you feel worse. Being around those that want to see you happy is important for your well-being.

Give yourself grace. You are battling with enough and deserve to be kind to yourself. You are the one who speaks to yourself the most. So how you treat yourself matters.

This is what I wish people who don’t have depression knew.

Those with depression are not just “lazy.” Fighting depression is a lot more difficult than people understand. Just because someone lies in bed all day, doesn’t mean they’re lazy. Depression can make you feel like you have no energy to do anything at all, let alone get out of bed.

The best thing you can do for a loved one struggling with depression is believe them, support them, and help them get resources. Having support while going through a depressive episode can make a huge difference.

Even if it seems like someone doesn’t want you to reach out, still do. Depression can cause someone to isolate themselves. This doesn’t mean they want to be alone. Reaching out to let them know you’re here for them and want to help can make a significant difference.



Photo Credit: Il’â Andreev / EyeEm via Getty Images


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