It can be hard to believe just how common depression is because we just don’t talk about it. Well, we do, but as a whole, society doesn’t tend to . There’s still a great deal of stigma and shame attached to it.
In the spirit of last week’s post, this week we asked the lovely folk on Facebook and Twitter “What do you wish people knew about depression?”
This is what the people in our community had to say:
Anon I still laugh, it doesn’t mean I am not depressed
Elaine Gardener When I say “I’m fine”, I’m lying
Sarah Myers It takes a lot of effort and is really tiring to achieve normal day to day tasks, if I say I’m tired (ie to an invitation to do something extra) please accept that.
Steph Holder If I manage to tell you how I really feel, please take me seriously, and do not try to ‘fix’ me. I would like you to validate my illness, not trivialise something that is overwhelming to me.
Nicky Bettany Sometimes just leave me alone
Anon I haven’t lost my skills and experience just because I’ve been off work with depression.
Deian Lye-Vella Asking me, what are you depressed about? or telling me to, cheer up, is not helpful and not welcome. You aren’t helping.
Jayne Hardy I don’t know when a panic attack will happen. If I missed your birthday, wedding or shindig, it wasn’t because I didn’t want to be there, but sometimes a panic attack changes the course of my plans, without any warning.
Anon People with depression are good actors. Just because people seem fine, it doesn’t guarantee that they are.
Anon If I miss a day out or a meal or coffee with you, it’s not because I don’t want to come it’s because I can’t come. Understand I am disappointed too. I would love to be able to be there with you. I am at home alone and very upset and ill. The days I can go out I can act, seem to be full of energy even seem happy. Why the act? Why do children learn not to cry?
Anon Lots of people want to talk about their depression but look how many people don’t feel comfortable doing so with their name on it and ask yourself if that’d be true for something like asthma or a broken leg and what you can do to break down that stigma
Deian Lye-Vella It might sound odd but when really bad depression hurts, it’s like an all over ache that runs deep and me staying in bed with the blind down isn’t me being lazy it’s me trying to survive.
Anon If you haven’t heard from me for a while feel free to drop me a text or something. Sometimes I want to talk to someone but don’t feel able to ask.
Anon I don’t tell people I am depressed because the one person I told stopped talking to me
Frieda Blenkinslop It takes a lot of energy to hold myself together out on the world. Alone at home, the guard comes down and often I cannot function at all.
Anon When you have it you start to learn who you can tell and who you can’t. Regarding missing certain things or events sometimes lying is all you have to explain it because there are only so many times you can use the bad stomach/bad back excuse.
Louisa Jones There is a difference between having depression and feeling down in the dumps. It taints every area of your life.
David Jamieson Nobody chooses to be depressed. It is not a lifestyle choice and is only cool in films.
Laura Caillouet Boyles It is real, it is devastating, it is more common than you realise. If you think you don’t know anyone who has suffered or is suffering with depression, I guarantee you do.
Barbara Pugh Please don’t hug me without asking, sometimes it’s the hug that’s the straw that breaks my back (especially as I’m depressed and dyspraxic so don’t do physical touch well anyway)
Laura Caillouet Boyles Depression can and does take lives. It’s that serious an illness. If you’re really worried about someone, don’t be afraid to stick your oar in. Offer support, know where to go for professional help, check in.
Elaine Cook If you ask me how I am and I say I’m “just tired”, I’m not just tired but there are not the words to explain the complexity of how I feel.
Phil Swales I want you to know that I need you to be there for me, but you’re not.
Anon sometimes I can’t talk, I can’t listen but I can be held
Anon Wearing the mask of ‘normality’ every time I am with others is exhausting and at some point it will crack and I will crash and burn
Jackie Davies Outside I look and act whole and in control, inside I feel broken and completely out of control of every aspect of my life.
Elaine Gardener Depression is that colleague that always makes time for you. Depression is that person on the bus who gave their seat for you. Depression is that cashier who smiled and said “have a good day”. Depression is that friend telling a joke. Depression is that mother / father playing with their children. Depression is that school teacher, that police officer, that company director, that neighbour, that partner, that single mum, that homeless person, that jobseeker, that ice-cream man, that builder, that vet, that student. That astronaut, scientist, lawyer, researcher, musician, shop assistant, traffic warden, bartender, hairdresser, butcher, lorry driver, farmer, pilot, newsagent.
Depression is that fake smile.
Mental illness doesn’t discriminate.
Fiona Hill I look in control of things but it’s exhausting to do that. So sometimes I just need to be left alone.
Jill Freeman When I cancel plans at the last minute – it is not about you. I am feeling overwhelmed or just not able to be in the company of people. Love me anyway.
Stuart Middleton When we seem like we’re being distant it is normally the time when we need support from our friends the most
Sophie Koranteng That if it takes me a while to explain why I’m upset, I’m trying to process the mess going on in my mind. So don’t snap- bear with me please
Helen Di Salvo Don’t try and trivialise what I’m feeling/experiencing. Don’t tell me ”there’s always someone else worse off”, it does not help but only makes me feel more misunderstood and so i shut down further.
Helen Di Salvo When you ask how I am, ask sincerely and do not be afraid of my response, just listen and try to understand. I know you can’t ‘fix’ me and I don’t expect you too. Just to know you genuinely care and do not expect anything in return from me, helps me.
Anon I struggle every day to function like a ‘normal’ human being.
I wouldn’t wish these feelings on my worst enemy.
I’m not lazy just exhausted.
I am trying my best.
I know you might not understand.
I know I’m hard to be around sometimes.
I wake up and absolutely dread my whole day, every day.
Sarah Myers Changing medications is really a tough experience.
Stuart Middleton I don’t take happy pills as I’m depressed not sad
Nicola Foyle there is no looking depressed because a lot of the time we are putting the happy face onto the outside world yet dying inside. Just because I function normally with a job and friends does not mean I cannot be depressed because I should not have anything to be depressed about.
And the Twitter folk:
@BlurtAlerts if we’re quiet & don’t get in touch, it’s not intentional. It often doesn’t cross our minds to communicate let alone ask 4 help
— MulberryPoppins (@MulberryPoppins) June 24, 2015
@BlurtAlerts I don’t *want* to feel this way. I’m doing all things advised, but it doesn’t always go away w treatment.
— kissthedog (@kissthedog) June 24, 2015