26 Truths People Living With Depression Wish Others Understood

Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses Americans face, but it 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, The Mighty asked their readers living with depression to share one thing they wish others understood about it.

Related: 31 Secrets of People Who Live With Anxiety

Here’s what people had to say.

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


Related: I Have OCD. This Is What It’s Like to Be in My Mind for 3 Minutes.

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


Related: I Let My 4-Year-Old With Autism Use My Camera. Here’s How He Sees the World.

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. “I’m not crazy.” — Otelia A. Schwartz


26. “Mostly, you cannot explain why you feel bad. It’s just there.” — Dee Mt Tusch

By Rachel Kassenbrock

More from The Mighty:

When I Overheard a Conversation Between My Son With Autism and His Brother

How This 8-Year-Old Is Fighting the Unthinkable Disease That Took Her Sister

How This Woman’s 'Boob Picture’ May Help Save Lives