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Also known as major depressive disorder, depression is a mental health disorder that negatively affects how people feel, behave, and think.
This disorder causes intense feelings of sadness, hopelessness, guilt, emptiness, and shame. People with depression may lose interest in activities and things they once enjoyed. Their performance at school or work may also decline, and they may act differently around their loved ones. Although it’s a mental illness, depression can manifest itself both psychologically and mentally. Many people struggle with this disorder but don’t know how to tell their loved ones or reach out for help. If you’re in this situation, our Banyan mental health center is sharing some tips on how to tell someone you’re depressed that can help.
Who to Tell About Depression
If you want to open up about how you feel, then you may be asking yourself, “who should I tell about my depression?” One major thing to keep in mind is that you don’t have to tell anyone about your depression if you aren’t comfortable with doing so. Don’t let anyone coerce or pressure you into talking about this. However, as an inpatient mental health rehab, we do recommend that you speak to someone you trust about your condition. Whether they’re your parent, friend, or family member, you should tell someone you trust about your depression.
As a result of the many stigmas about mental illness, so many people are afraid to share their struggles with their mental health. This often perpetuates isolation and harmful forms of self-medicating, like substance abuse. The first step in treating your depression is accepting it and talking about it with someone else. Sometimes we have to say these things aloud to accept that they’re real and that we need help. When you do decide to talk to someone about your depression, it should be someone you trust or a licensed therapist. You do not have to tell everyone you know, nor should you tell someone who you don’t trust. If you believe you’re depressed but can’t talk to anyone, call us at 888-280-4763. We’re here for you.
How to Tell Someone You Have Depression
Talking about your depression can be difficult. Unfortunately, many people have no idea what depression is or don’t know much about mental illness in general. Up until recently, mental health wasn’t a common topic of choice in public settings. However, thanks to the many celebrities with mental illness who have shared their experiences and other forms of mental health awareness, the time has arrived to open up about your struggles. Depression can be a scary and consuming condition if it isn’t addressed. It can be difficult to move forward and get mental health treatment without the support of loved ones. With that being said, sharing your struggles is worth the risk. Below are some tips on how to tell someone you’re depressed that may make the conversation easier for you.
Choose Who You’re Going to Tell
Although we’ve already gone over this before, decide who you’re going to tell ahead of time. This conversation shouldn't be casual unless you’re okay with that. When discussing your depression, it’s a good idea to tell someone you trust - bonus points if they’re a good listener. But what happens when you have a parent, sibling, or friend who you want to tell but may not be as understanding? This situation can be scary, but sometimes the more difficult conversations are the most important. If you decide to talk about your depression with a not-so-understanding audience, you may need a little more preparation.
Write Down What You Want to Say
As much as we rehearse scenarios by ourselves, it’s easy to forget the key things you want to say when you’re face to face with the other person. Before sitting down with your parents or friend to talk about your depression, write down everything that you want to say. This will help you organize your thoughts and prevent you from forgetting important things. Having your talking points written down also motivates you to have that conversation.
Expect Different Reactions
Unless the other person has personal experience with depression, they’re unlikely to understand how you feel. Although this isn’t wrong, it can be frustrating. In their attempt to help, or simply in their ignorance, they may insist that you have nothing to be depressed about, or they may try to offer you advice, which isn’t helpful. If anything, this can actually come across as dismissive, which can be hurtful and even cause an argument. Others may simply not know what to say and may accidentally offend you in their attempt to understand. With that being said, it’s important to keep all kinds of reactions in mind. Be prepared to explain your symptoms, how long you’ve been feeling this way, and any other details you’re comfortable with sharing that may better help them understand your condition.
Don’t Take Their Reaction Personally
So, what causes agoraphobia? Agoraphobia can be the result of either one or the combined efforts of the factors mentioned above. This condition can manifest differently in everyone, and as a person goes through therapy, they’re likely to work on additional issues that have contributed to their disorder. Because agoraphobia and most mental disorders have underlying contributing factors, our inpatient mental health rehab is a great place to learn what these factors are and develop the skills needed to manage this condition and get the most out of life.
Seek Professional Help
If the person reacts negatively to your news, remember it isn’t a reflection of what they think of you, but rather an indication of their lack of understanding. It can be distressing to learn that someone you care about has depression, so their initial reaction may be more a reflection of how they feel about the news rather than how they feel about you. In other words, the person loves you, and sometimes we say or do hurtful things when we’re confused or distressed without realizing how it’ll affect someone else.
It’s also not your fault if they’re not supportive or understanding. If the person chooses not to believe you or even accuses you of lying or being dramatic or confused, gently remind them that you’re the one living with this condition, and you know how you feel. If you feel as if the conversation may escalate, then end it and continue talking when everyone is calm again. If you’d rather not bring it up again, then don’t.
Share as Much or as Little as You Want
Speaking of details, you can be as specific or as vague as you want to when talking about your depression. You do not have to share anything you’re not comfortable talking about. Never feel obligated to share everything, even if the other person asks or insists on knowing. If the person asks you a tough question, just tell them you aren’t ready to talk about it yet.
Let the Person Know How They Can Help
When sharing your depression with others, let them know how they can actively help you, as they may want to if they can. Think about what you may want from your friends in terms of support. Maybe you just want them to lend an ear when you need to vent, or you may want them to join you for your first therapy session. You might also ask them to hold you accountable for any behavior that may cause you harm or may worsen your symptoms, such as heavy drinking or drug use. This allows your loved ones to actively support you while you’re learning how to cope with depression.
While their intentions may be sound, your loved ones may attempt to “help” or “fix” your situations in ways that are unhelpful. If the person attempts to “fix” the situation or become your therapist, gently remind them that you’re going to therapy or that you need the help of a licensed therapist. Tell them that what you need from them is their support and encouragement through this process.
It can be frustrating when other people try to tell you how you feel. While it can be helpful if you’re up to it, it’s not your job to educate them or defend your diagnosis. Instead of spending energy trying to explain your condition to them, point them to helpful resources. This will prevent you from getting into a heated debate about your depression, which may make it difficult for the other person to understand where you’re coming from.
When it comes to talking to others about your depression, you’re not obligated to share anything unless you want them to know. If you feel like certain people in your life wouldn’t understand or would react negatively to your news, keep the information to yourself. Keep in mind, however, that telling other people about your depression can be both beneficial and healing. Additionally, by not telling your family or friends, you may be taking away their opportunity to understand and support you. You shouldn’t have to go through this experience alone, especially if you have loved ones who will show their support. Reach out to the close people in your life. You may be surprised at how understanding they can be.
If you’re in search of depression treatment for yourself or a loved one, call Banyan Mental Health now at 888-280-4763 to learn more about our treatment for major depression and various types of mental health therapy.