As we hear from members of The Depression Project's community every single day, there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding depression - which unfortunately, can result in people fighting this illness feeling very misunderstood, and not receiving the support they would love to have. So, in order to try to help clear up some of these misconceptions, we asked our 3,000,000+ followers on social media:
What are the most common misconceptions surrounding depression?
And, in this blog post, we'd like to share some of the responses with you.
The Most Common Misconceptions Surrounding Depression (According To People With Depression)
- "People conflate depression with sadness, but they are worlds apart. Sadness you can shake off when what causes it eases up - but depression you can't 'shake off' or 'snap out of'."
- "People think there is a 'quick fix' - that just going for a walk or meditating or whatever can make everything OK again. But depression does not have a quick fix. If it did, I would have recovered by now."
- "Sometimes people think that because you are having a good day or even a good couple of weeks/months, that you must be all better. But as anybody with depression knows, that's not the reality."
- "Some people think that when you reach out for help when you're in a depressive episode, that you're looking for attention - when in reality, you've been hiding your depression for so long because you're scared of being judged, and the reason you're reaching out is because you've finally hit breaking point."
- "When you're really good at masking your depression and pretending that you're in a decent mood, people tend to think you're lying on the occasions when you can't hide it anymore. I've had people say 'what's wrong with you? You've changed!' But the truth is that I've been fighting depression the entire time."
- "The worst thing is that people believe depression is something that can be turned off at will. Any time depression affects anything, big or little, it's viewed as a choice. I wish all these people knew that depression is anything but a choice. It completely consumes me and I have no idea what to do about it."
- "People think that if you have a 'good life', that you can't be depressed, and when I tell them that it isn't that simple and that depression can affect ANYBODY, they just say that I'm being ungrateful. It makes me feel so isolated and ashamed."
- "The misconception that I hate the most is that if you're struggling to do the day-to-day things, then it means you're lazy. Most people who've never had depression don't understand that when you're in that state, you feel so exhausted and overwhelmed that EVERYTHING becomes a struggle - and I mean EVERYTHING. Brushing your teeth, having a shower, taking the rubbish out, doing the dishes, preparing a meal and even getting out of bed. It all feels impossible."
- "My ex used to tell me I wasn’t depressed because he experienced it with his past girlfriend and I was nothing like that. But depression is different in each individual. The idea that it's the same for everyone is one of the biggest misconceptions."
- "I wish people understood that depression can make you socially withdraw and isolate yourself. You don't stay at home because you 'can't be bothered' leaving the house or because you 'don't like any of your friends anymore'. I don't think people understand how debilitating this illness is unless they've been through it themselves."
- "Like others have mentioned, a big misconception is that you're putting distance between yourself and your friends for any reason other than the fact that trying to socialise when you're depressed is a minefield. You crave connection but have nothing to say when you meet up because you've been doing nothing, and the things you used to enjoy don't fill you with the enthusiasm that they used to. I'm ashamed to admit it but at my worst, I can't even hear good news from my friends because it only serves to remind me of the time and energy I've been robbed of as a result of being depressed."
- "A lot of people think that if there is nothing that is obviously wrong with your life, that you can't be depressed. Or, that you can't be depressed because there are other people in the world who are worse off than you. But this isn't true. Anyone can suffer from depression."
- "There are people I know who think that if you're depressed, then you walk around all day with a suicidal look on your face. But it's quite the opposite, in fact - people learn to hide it. They don't want attention or to upset their loved ones. And they fear being a burden."
- "There is a misconception that if you come across as independent, have a career and seem able to cope in your everyday life, that you have no reason to feel worthless / hopeless / unloved / lonely, so people assume you don’t need any emotional support as you can’t possibly suffer from depression."
- "The biggest misconception is that you can just 'think about something positive and then snap out of it'. I only wish it was that easy."
We hope that these quotes help to clarify some of the common misconceptions surrounding depression ❤️
All our love,
The Depression Project Team.