6 Things That Depression Definitely Is Not

The media portrays depression as pretty girls crying in a bathtub, but it's so much more than that.

sad girl lying on bed CandyRetriever / Shutterstock

When you have depression, you wind up spending a lot of time talking about it.

And I'm not just talking about people like me who write for a living. 

This isn't because you want to, it's because very often you find that you HAVE to, even if it's just to tell people what depression is NOT.

While our culture is becoming increasingly sensitive to mental health needs, we are far from perfect, and the stigma around depression and other mental illnesses is still very much there. 


It's important that we talk about depression, and not just what it is. 

It's just as important to discuss what depression is not.

RELATED: I Refuse To Let My Wife's Depression Ruin Our Marriage

Here are 6 things that depression definitely is not:

1. Being in a bad mood 

Clinical depression is different than being grumpy or having a bad day. 


You're human (if you are not, please DM me with stories of your alien life) and as such, you have as many emotions as Sephora has lipsticks. 

That's a lot of emotions.

But your bad mood isn't depression. It's a feeling. That will pass. 

Depression doesn't work that way. 

2. Feeling sad in response to bad news 

If you receive bad news, like learning that the bagel place is out of everything bagels, it might make you feel sad or depressed.

Those feelings are different from clinical depression, which is a medical condition caused by the brain's inability to produce enough serotonin

Yes, everything bagels are delicious and of course, you get sad when you can't have one, but that sadness is not clinical depression. 


RELATED: Woman Considers Ending Her Relationship After Learning Her Boyfriend Struggled With Depression In College

3. Just about lying around in bed all-day 

Depression looks different on different people, just like that one weird dress of your mom's that she made you wear to church the last time you visited. 

For some people, clinical depression means lying in bed feeling unable to move.

Other people can put on a front, presenting as totally fine while inside they are struggling.

Mental illness seldom looks the same. Very often, it's totally invisible. 

4. A fake illness

Just because a person with depression isn't running a fever or vomiting up their everything bagel (god, I want an everything bagel) doesn't mean their illness isn't real. 


A person with depression is not faking being sick or malingering. They've got a legitimate mental illness that often can have very real symptoms. 

They need empathy, not distrust. 

RELATED: Why Women Experience Depression More Often Than Men (And 7 Ways To Overcome It)

5. Just a phase 

Basically, every teenager goes through a phase of being insufferable, slamming doors, and demanding ten dollars and a ride to the mall.

But depression IS NOT a phase. 

It's not something someone grows out of, the way teenagers eventually become normal decent people. 


You don't "get over" depression, you seek treatment and intervention

6. A cry for attention 

A depressed person is not looking for attention.

In fact, if they had their way, everyone would simply leave them alone.

A depressed person isn't being dramatic or needy, they are experiencing true mental strife and it has NOTHING to do with you at all

RELATED: 7 Surprising Things That Make Your Depression Even Worse

Rebecca Jane Stokes is an editor, freelance writer, former Senior Staff Writer for YourTango, and the former Senior Editor of Pop Culture at Newsweek. Her bylines have appeared in Fatherly, Gizmodo, Yahoo Life, Jezebel, Apartment Therapy, Bustle, Cosmopolitan, SheKnows, and many others.