If you’ve suffered with depression, you’ve probably wondered if you should tell your family, friends, or coworkers about it. Depression affects people differently; you might prefer not to burden others with it, or you might secretly wish someone would listen and help you through it.
I was the former. I can remember many nights spent alone in my room trying to escape my depression. I’d play World of Warcraft or some other online game: anything to take my mind off of my suffering. I preferred isolation, and I believed I should be able to fix myself.
You don’t need to suffer alone. Tell someone you love about what you’re going through. This can be scary. It’s 2017 and there’s still a stigma around mental illness. Some people might overreact and treat you differently; others might blow you off and call you a drama queen. That can really hurt.
When I was in high school I drove home in the middle of a party because I felt incredibly uncomfortable. When I told my brother I thought it might be social anxiety, he unintentionally blew me off. He didn’t realize how serious it was. He told me to try not to focus on it, and it would go away. The fact that he didn’t understand just made me feel even more alone, and after that I believed that confiding in others was pointless.
Find a community
If you don’t feel comfortable telling someone close to you about your depression, or if you do tell them and they aren’t supportive, don’t give up. Tell someone else. Reach out to a community that understands what you’re going through. Comment on this post, and I will be more than happy to reply. Also feel free to email me at ReviveLiveThrive@gmail.com or message me on twitter @ReviveLivThrive. One of the main purposes of ReviveLiveThrive.com is to unite depression sufferers so we can support each other.
What should you say?
Be open, and be honest. Don’t downplay, and don’t exaggerate. It’s amazing what a relief it can be to tell another human being exactly what you’re going through. A great book that relates to this is called “Radical Honesty” by Dr. Brad Blanton (warning: he curses a lot in the book).
Some people will be overwhelmed and not know how to respond. That’s fine. Don’t expect any single person to suddenly become your therapist and fix all of your problems. Your depression is no longer a secret burden that you bear, and that’s a start.
I didn’t feel comfortable telling anyone I knew about my depression, so I joined an online forum. Typing a giant post about all the suffering I’d been through was cathartic. Some others who suffered with depression replied and related their similar experiences to me, and I no longer felt so alone.
How much should you say?
At a certain point, talking about your depression changes from relief to obsession. When you stop feeling relieved and start feeling more depressed, it’s time to stop talking about it, at least for the moment. Not surprisingly, focusing on something negative for an extended period of time makes you feel more negative.
To avoid that negative feeling while talking about depression, I like to focus on coping mechanisms and recovery rather than just on how bad it is. This website is focused on support and improving! Check out the about section to learn more.
If you still don’t feel comfortable, even with an online community, journaling can help. Thoughts get all jumbled up in our minds and overwhelm us. The simple act of putting thoughts into words, even on paper or in a notes app, can really help. Take it a step further with video journaling!
Build upon your discussions
Talking about your depression can be useful, but don’t stop there. Take action as well. Do little things to start improving your circumstances. Check out my article on upward and downward spirals.
Please remember that this post just contains my person opinions, and I’m not a doctor! Check out my disclaimer.
Well, you read the post. Now do what it says, and talk to me about your depression! Leave a comment, and let’s talk about it. Again, feel free to email me or message me on twitter. Share this post with someone who needs it! Thank you so much for being here.