As if the daily struggles from depression aren’t bad enough, women who suffer from depression have to deal with hearing the same frustrating complaints from people who don’t understand. Currently, 350 million people around the world suffer from depression and 50% of Americans go undiagnosed. That makes it enough of a reason for everyone to understand what depression is and how it affects others. It’s also important to note that women are much more likely to be diagnosed with depression than men, so think twice before you say another smart remark to a woman who’s already suffering.
“Cheer up already.” I never thought of that. Let me just go turn that frown upside down. Guess what, it doesn’t work that way. If I could just magically cheer up, I would. That’s kind of the problem and I’m dealing with it my own way.
“Is this, like, a phase or something?” It’s like the same kind of phase as any other major illness. Please don’t say something like this. If you bothered to ask what was wrong, you might know it’s depression. Then you’d know it’s definitely not a phase.
“Get over yourself.” I know it might seem like women who suffer from depression are drama queens, but they’re not. You have to understand they tend to focus on all their flaws and mistakes far more than you do. They’re not being selfish or dramatic. It’s just part of the illness.
“We all feel down sometimes.” And I get even more blah. Think about how crappy you feel when you get extremely low. Now, multiply that by 10. That’s how I get to feel during my bad days. I look forward to normal blah days. Please don’t try to lessen how serious this is.
“Depression isn’t a real thing.” I just don’t even know what to say to people who say this. Honestly, with all the information out there, how could you not know depression is real. Sure, it might not show up on an X-ray, but it’s a real illness that affects that lives of millions every day.
“You look horrible.” Thanks, that’s just what I needed to boost my already low self-esteem. While most people think of depression as a mental illness, it does affect you physically. You might lose or gain weight, have noticeable skin changes and look tired often. Try to be a little more supportive next time instead of insulting my looks.
“What can I do?” Okay, so this isn’t exactly bad, but it gets annoying when you hear it all the time. Imagine having a loved one who asks every day how they can make it better. Then they get mad when you don’t have an answer. All you can do for a depressed woman is be supportive and she’ll let you know when she needs something.
“Stop using it as an excuse.” So when you break your arm and say you can’t do something, I should just think you’re making silly excuses right? When depression takes hold, anxiety becomes an issue and women aren’t always up for hanging out or trying something new. It just makes them feel worse and it’s definitely not an excuse, but a legitimate reason.
“You’re bringing everyone down.” This is a great way to alienate any woman who’s dealing with depression. Imagine how you would feel if someone told you you weren’t good enough to hang out with anymore. That’s exactly how that phrase sounds. Maybe you should try to perk your friend or loved up instead of bringing them further down.
“Try being a little stronger.” The only reason I’m making it right now is because I’m strong. Until you’ve been there, you don’t understand how much strength and will power it takes some days just to get out of bed. A little extra strength isn’t going to magically cure me.
“But life is great!” I’m sure it is, but some days it really is hard to see it that way. I’m not trying to be melodramatic and I do appreciate the reminder. Depressed women get sick of being talked to like they’re always on the verge of suicide. Sometimes it’s nice for everyone to just act normal. It really does help.
“What do you have to be depressed about?” Depression doesn’t pick and choose between those who seem to have perfect lives and those who always have something going wrong. It’s not logical and there’s no set reason why someone might be depressed. Don’t try making someone feel guilty just for having depression.
“Have you tried taking anything?” Personally, that’s up to me. Besides, there hasn’t been a medication yet that cures depression. It just helps manage the symptoms. Plus, have you seen the side effects? Let me decide what’s right for me to do.
“Just get out there and you’ll feel better.” Pushing me to do things isn’t going to help. In fact, it’ll just make me feel more insecure and anxious. Getting out there and doing things only helps when I actually feel up to it. I wish I could, but sometimes it just makes me feel even worse. Just be patient and understanding and I will get better.
“My problems are so much worse.” They might very well be, but that doesn’t make my problems go away. There’s nothing more annoying than having other people start comparing problems with yours. It’s not the problems themselves that are the issue. It’s depression magnifying those problems until they’re impossible to deal with. This isn’t a competition, so please don’t make it into one.
You probably know someone who is or has been depressed. You might even suffer from it yourself. The most important thing to remember is to not drive someone away or make them feel worse by saying the wrong thing. Remember, it will get better, but it takes time.
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