21 Things Nobody Tells You About Being Depressed
1. Most of the things people will say to help you are profoundly and dangerously unhelpful.
Thanks to a plethora of misinformation about what depression actually
is, people often seem to think that saying things like “just be
happier,” “don’t be depressed,” and “just try harder” are legitimate
pieces of advice. They are not.
2. It physically hurts.
In the human body’s least amusing attempt at metaphor, many depressed
people report physical symptoms like muscle ache, joint pain, and
stabbing sensations in the chest. If you are depressed and feeling pain,
check with your doctor to discuss possible causes.
3. Asking for help feels counterintuitive.
One of the many lies depression will tell you is that nobody cares about
you, so you won’t want to “bother” people by reaching out to them.
Fight this lie. Wrestle it to the ground. Punch it in the face. Somebody
will listen to you.
4. Your relationship with food changes to “it’s complicated.”
Whatever moderation there is between “forgetting to eat for a day” and
“eating all of the things” just isn’t on the menu anymore. Poor eating
habits can make depression worse, though, so seek medical help if your
diet becomes worrisome for you.
5. Some “friends” might ditch you (and that is OK.)
Some of your so-called friends won’t know how to be around you and will
vanish in the haze. Let them go and keep doing you. It’s the people who
stay that will make a difference.
6. You feel like you are absolutely losing your mind.
Depression is a shape-shifting mental disorder; it co-manifests with
panic attacks, compulsive thoughts and habits, social phobia, and any
number of other issues. Remember that you are not “crazy.” You are sick
and you can get better.
7. Everything will start to annoy you. Even you will start to annoy you.
Irritability is a symptom of depression that doesn’t get enough
attention. Feeling grumpy is just a part of the process, and you
shouldn’t be made to feel bad about it.
8. Everyday tasks will feel overwhelming.
Something as simple as making a bowl of cereal suddenly has too many
steps and now you’re frustrated with yourself and oh dear, don’t cry…
9. It’s nearly impossible to tell when it’s just your “depression talking.”
Trying to tell your healthy, rational thoughts apart from the stuff that
wouldn’t cross your mind if you weren’t depressed is like scooping only
the pee out of a swimming pool
, but being able to tell that difference is an important step on the road to recovery.
10. Depression will wreak havoc on your sleep schedule.
You can’t sleep when you want to, but when you actually have somewhere
to be you get knocked out with a completely unplanned, five-hour nap.
Depression will wreak havoc on your sleep schedule.
11. Depression can also mean not feeling anything at all.
If you’re depressed it’s assumed that you’re sad, but depression can
also make you feel numb and/or emotionally exhausted. No matter what
other people say, that’s still depression; if you feel emotionally numb
or blank you should report it to your doctor or therapist.
12. It’s incredibly boring.
Imagine that you can only watch one thing on Netflix
and it’s an 80-season show with 24-hour episodes. Imagine that you have
no interest in this show or its characters or its plot. When you are
depressed, your life might feel like that TV show. Try to distract
yourself for brief periods of time with anything that will hold your
attention and stave off the boredom, however temporary the distraction
13. You’ll feel guilty.
What’s worse than being depressed? Feeling like you’re a selfish,
ungrateful failure for having a disorder you can’t control. This is a
common depressive thought, and is not true. Cognitive behavioral therapy
can help you identify depressive thoughts and emotions (like guilt) and
can give you tools to work through these feelings.
14. Probably because people will tell you things that make you feel judged.
Yes, people are starving. Yes, there are people with “real problems.” That doesn’t make you any less sick.
15. Your dreams get weird.
Some studies say that as people move through the stages of their depression, the content and quality of their dreams fluctuate.
16. Mirrors become your worst enemy.
Low self-esteem is a symptom of depression, so your mirror can remind
you of how much you dislike the way you look or who you are. Sometimes
it’s best to just cover them up for a few days.
17. Depression will seem like a “logical” state to be in.
Some studies show that depressed people have an unusually realistic
world view, so you might rationalize your depressive thinking (“I am a
bad person”) as an incontrovertible fact. This is not true, and therapy
can help you understand how depression flaws your logic.
18. So you will earnestly argue with people over how terrible you are.
“I think you’re awesome.”
“NO YOU DON’T, I’M CLEARLY THE WORST PERSON EVER GO AWAY.”
19. Trying to re-enter society after being depressed for a long time is very awkward.
It might be a while before you feel good around people again, so it’s OK
to take your time and slowly reintroduce yourself into social
20. You won’t be able to think clearly about your future.
Not only does this nuke your capacity for hope, it also renders
meaningless the idea that at some point things will get better. If you
feel like this, please take steps to seek medical help or talk to a
trusted friend or counselor.
21. Depression will make you feel that you are alone. You are not alone.
If you need information on depression or want to talk about your
depression, you can call the Crisis Call Center at any time of the day.
Their national number is 1-800-273-8255 and all calls are free of
If you don’t like talking on the phone but still want to be heard,
forums like the Reddit boards r/depression and r/anxiety have strong
communities of people who may be working through an illness similar to
For more information on your depression, the National Alliance on Mental
Illness has up-to-date research in the field of psychology as well as
articles and fact sheets on mental illness.
To find a doctor or support group in your area, try searching on the
Healthfinder for nearby support groups or use this GoodTherapy online
tool to locate therapists in your area.