I have several diagnoses, the main one being borderline personality disorder but along with that are the sub-diagnoses that are a little more “common” but still encased in crappy stigma. A while back I made up a list of things that people with anxiety want you to know. Today I thought I’d talk about the depression diagnosis and a few things that someone with it might want you to know. This isn’t a comprehensive list though so if you feel you would like to add to it please message me, leave a comment or anything and I’ll edit and add to the list xoxo
• No, I can’t just “snap out of it”
I hate when someone tells me to just get over it. It is so to hear, and it shows that the person saying it really doesn’t understand how you’re feeling and most of the time they aren’t really interested to either. You can’t just snap out of depression – it’s impossible. I’d describe depression as feeling like drowning – no matter how hard you try to fight back it overpowers you and there’s nothing you can do about it. Depression feels like a constant battle and it’s exhausting.
• There isn’t always a reason as to why we’re feeling depressed
For someone who has never experienced depression it can be easy to assume that it’s caused by an event of some sort. Yes, depression can be triggered by life events like a bad break-up, losing your job etc, but there doesn’t always have to be a legitimate, or understandable reason. Depression isn’t picky, it can affect anyone no matter what race or religion they are. It doesn’t care. So no, we aren’t always going to be able to give a reasoning that you’ll able to nail down.
• I’m sorry I hurt you
For friends and family it can be hard to watch someone you love suffer from depression, and it can be difficult to understand how to help and what to do. Depression is very selfish and often we push people away in order to protect them because feelings of guilt and fear of letting people down are overwhelming. Often things are taken personally or we’ll say something that is horrible but we don’t mean it. Loving and caring for someone with depression is not a cakewalk but standing by them and showing unconditional love is one of the best things you can ever do for us.
• Depression and being sad are not the same thing
Depression and sadness mean two different things. Sadness is a normal emotion and if something bad was to happen then you may feel sad, but that sadness will lift after a few days. However, depression is a persistent sadness – it can last for weeks, months or even years. It can affect you in various ways such as changing your personality, interests and the way you see the future.
• Depression isn’t a choice
A person doesn’t choose to be depressed seeing as it can affect important things in your life like relationships, work and education. Having a low mood all the time and most things that should be easy are an effort isn’t a conscious choice. It’s out of anyone’s control, you can’t do much to stop it from happening. We aren’t weak because we have depression.
• We can feel like a burden and that we’re too much to deal with
Depression can cause us to feel like an inconvenience to others, leading us to become feeling isolated and finding it difficult to talk to others. We can sometimes feel that we’re too much to deal with and that we’re bringing others down. When feeling low we can avoid other people in order to hide how we feel from our family and friends. This is when friends and family need to be compassionate and reassure their loved ones that they’re not a burden to them. By letting us know that we can talk to you about how we are feeling, we can gain a sense of safety and support around us.
• Achievements that you see as small are big to me
Achieving goals that we set for ourselves makes us feel proud. Other people’s goals may be to get high grades or get a job but sometimes just getting out of bed or talking to someone about how you’re feeling is an achievement. Be proud of us when we achieve these goals. These achievements bring us a step closer to recovery and some day we will be able to achieve bigger things, but for now it’s about putting one foot in front of the other and achieving little things to give us that sense of accomplishment.
• We can still have some good days
We aren’t always having bad days we can still have a good day. We can still have days that are hard but we can also have days when we feel okay and are able to do things. People think that depression is all about having bad days. Truth is, moods fluctuate quite a lot and on good days we can feel like we are in control and that we can achieve something, even just going out with a friend for a coffee. Depression is a mixture of good and bad days.
• We’re trying our best to get through it
Depression is something that we have to work through. I’ve learned that recovery isn’t something you choose once – you have to choose it over and over again. We can’t just let go and ignore depression, it has to be treated appropriately by a medical professional. If we have to use therapy and/or medication as a way of working through our depression please do stand by us. There’s no shame in asking for help. Depression can make us feel isolated and lonely and having someone by our side can make us feel less alone even if we don’t always know how to show our feelings of gratitude.