Why Am I Afraid to Tell Anyone that I am Depressed?
Even in the wake of the press surrounding Robin William's suicide and the attempt to remove the stigma from depression, it can still carry a heavy connotation. Depression is not something that is easy to bring up in conversation. It is not something that people always hear without judgment. And it is not something that is easy to live with. Those who have not been through it may find it difficult to sympathize and many sufferers are afraid to mention it for fear that the response they get will make them feel worse. But if you never tell anyone about it, you may end up feeling more alone.
So what should a sufferer of depression do to get support and compassion from others so as not to feel so alone and, perhaps, so ashamed? Try these approaches with friends and loved ones:
- When asked to go do something "fun," let your friend know that you have not been feeling yourself and would like to talk or do something more low-key instead.
- Ask friends or family if they have ever been depressed. If they have, ask them about their experience, and see if you can relate. If they haven't, ask them if they would be willing to listen to what it is like for you.
- If your partner, or someone else who cares about you wants to know what they can do to help, recommend a good book on the subject such as, Talking to Depression by Claudia J. Strauss and Martha Manning; or When SomeoneYou Love is Depressed: How to Help Your Loved One Without Losing Yourself by Laura Epstein Rosen and Xavier Francisco Amador.
- Look for a support group for depression and other mood disorders so that you can talk to people who DO understand.
Even if others don't seem to understand, know that depression is a common form of mental illness. It is treatable, and it is not your fault. No one should be ashamed to admit that they are suffering from depression. It is not WHO you are. It is simply what you are dealing with at the moment.