10 Often-Misunderstood Things Every Depressed Person Wants You To Know

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10 Things Depressed Persons Wish You Knew

People struggling with depression often wish that others showed more understanding towards their illness. Unfortunately, depression is still surrounded by stigma and ignorance.

With that being said, here are 10 things people suffering from depression wish you knew about what depression really feels like:

1. We're not lazy.

Almost half of the U.S. population believes depressed people are lazy, despite the evidence that depression is a mental illness with a biological basis. In fact, one of the most common definitions of depression is a state of low mood with an aversion to activity.

Depressed people find it hard to do normal everyday activities, which makes them come off as lazy. However, what you didn't know is that most depressed people feel a great deal of guilt as a result of their inability to get things done.

2. We can't just 'snap out of it.'

Oftentimes, people with depression are told that they should snap out of it by using their will power. However, we need to keep in mind that for a person to have a will in the first place, they need to have adequate levels of the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, the neurotransmitter whose levels are below normal in the depressed brain.

So, telling a depressed person to snap out of it is the equivalent of telling an asthma sufferer to just get over it.

3. We’re not looking for attention.

Sometimes depressed people may act out as a result of their mental state. This is especially true for men. Studies show that men are more likely to engage in risk-taking, substance abuse, and escapist behavior when depressed.

These behaviors are believed to serve as a cover-up mechanism to hide vulnerability and to escape one’s own feelings. Keeping these facts in mind will help you understand that the depressed person is not acting out to gain attention but to get out of their misery.

4. We don’t choose to become depressed.

Depression is often a reaction to a major life stressor. However, not everyone reacts to stress by becoming depressed. This is mostly determined by our coping mechanisms, and our coping mechanisms are determined by our upbringing, personality, and genetics.

These are things that we can’t control. So the reason why some people become depressed and others don’t, has nothing to do with life circumstances.

5. We need a good listener.

Chances are when you listen to someone with depression and they tell you how they feel, you feel the need to share advice. However, advice is not what the depressed person really needs from you.

After all, they get plenty of advice from their therapist. Instead, HelpGuide recommends being a good listener. Showing empathy and kindness towards the depressed person can be a refreshing experience for them.

6. Depression is a real illness.

There seems to be a lot of skepticism surrounding mental illness even among mental health experts. Truth be told, we still don’t understand much about mental health and the human psyche for that matter.

However, what we do know is that depression is maladaptive, causes the person excessive suffering, and can if left untreated lead to suicide — which are reasons enough to look at depression as a pathological state.

7. Depression is not a sign of weakness.

Depressed persons are often stigmatized as having a character flaw or being weak in some way. The truth is that depression can affect anyone regardless of their social status, age, gender, and personality. In fact, depression affected around 6.7 percent of U.S. adults last year. Depression can affect anyone, anytime, anywhere.

8. It’s not you, it’s me.

One of the hallmarks of depression is avoidance behavior. Procrastination, rumination, and avoiding social situations is a common theme of a depressed person’s life. Although it can be easy to jump to conclusions when a depressed loved one seems to avoid meeting up with you.

Remember that this is a symptom of their illness. The same goes true for sexual relationships as depression can take quite a toll on a person’s libido.

9. Sadness is not the same as depression.

And neither is depression simple sadness. Some researchers believe that will lie in a society that tends to over-medicalize normal human experiences. While this may be true to an extent, we also need to keep in mind that true depression is neither normal nor healthy.

10. We need empathy.

Depression makes a person feel lonely, empty, and their outlook on life generally pessimistic. Showing empathy and understanding can replace these feelings with hope and optimism more than you think. So, if you feel the urge to judge, resist it and try to understand that this person’s suffering is real although seemingly illogical.

Depression is a controversial illness subjected to a great deal of social stigma. Those affected may be discouraged as a result to seek help. This is unfortunate because depression is highly treatable with antidepressants, therapy, and even natural remedies such as Serelax and others.