ErikB Turtle 2016
on April 26th, 2017

Societal Pressures and it's possible affect on depression

There are many reasons as to why depression sets in but I’d like to focus on one specific reason and my hope is that by identifying it, we can see if this affects us in our own life.


Societal pressures – There are a lot of external factors that weigh us down in life. There is the pressure we get growing up as a child from our parents, teachers, and other roles of authority we encounter when we are young. Sometimes it can feel like we are always being told what and what not to do, which can be very overwhelming and we can be left with the question, “what about me?”


When we begin to get older we start to feel the pressure from our peers (our friends and others we coexist around). These pressures can include trying things we really have no desire to try or attempting to “fit in” with those around us (gender groups, cultural groups, etc). Some of us do well with this and look at it as a source of inspiration and motivation to become a better within certain aspects of our life  but others can feel overwhelmed and burdened with the question, “what about me?”


And then comes adult life and whether it be advancing our education or entering the workforce, the external pressures can become even more amplified. Pressures to keep up marks in school in order to meet requirements to advance or keep scholarships. Pressures from the workforce like keeping up with a coworker or meeting the demands of your employer. “What about me?”


Something that intertwines with all of this is conformity and something that can make us all nervous is the fear of standing out and being different. But the reality of this is, you are different, you are unique, your passions are different and there really is no one else in this world quite like you; take pride in that!


So what about you?


What types of societal pressures do you notice in your own life?

What types of societal pressure do you find are the hardest to cope with? What are some that you find are easier?

Do you think that these pressures can be healthy and at what point do they do more harm than good?

Do you think that these pressures can become overwhelming and lead us into depression?

Are you afraid to stand out?


And here are some links that can help out if you want to know a bit more about this subject and how to break free of it.

Conformity -

Media Influence on women to be thin -

Defining yourself in the midst societal pressures -

Be Yourself: Mantras to defy peer pressure -

Pinnae Horse 2017
on May 14th, 2017

I see a lot of societal pressures, but I think the hardest ones to cope with are the ones that alienate people when they try to be themselves. I think it's awful for have someone share their passion and be incredibly enthusiastic about it, and then be laughed at and derided by the people they trusted enough to make themselves vulnerable. I think that even people who say they have an open mind still have biases, but they can overcome them if they consciously think about what they are doing. When people let themselves be seen for who they are and reveal what they truly love and then are humiliated, it can cause emotional trauma and scarring that can prevent them from ever opening up again, and I think it can definitely lead to depression.

Kabira Kangaroo 2016
on June 12th, 2017

@Pinnae You are certainly right. Society does pressure us in many unseen ways. The 'Society' is a little hypocritic , don't you think? I mean, They encourage you to follow your 'passion' and when you really do, they discourage you. You are not 'accepted'. This is indeed the Dark side of society and i do think, that it can be changed. Change can be brought, only if someone is willing to bring it. And you seem to have started the chain. smiley

suckerforpain Horse 2017
on October 24th, 2017


That is true. First people ask you to open up to them and when you finally gather the strength to say what matters, they show you their backs and walk away from your life. Or worse they mock you for who you are and it definitely adds up to the cloud of sadness you were surrounded with and it creates trust issues and you stop sharing your feelings with anyone in future with results in depression. 

snow364 Horse 2017
on January 30th

@Pinnae Completely agree -- rejection/neglect by valued persons does serious damage and can close you off. And pressure to conform to what is accepted -- set by whatever standards, values, or implicit expectations are held by those persons -- can be really difficult to deal with. I know I've found it hard to find unconditional openess in relationships and that's part of the reason why I value this place so much because it's a non-judging, open space. There's this one video I really thought was inciteful on this and opens up your eyes to how common this issue is -- it's a group interview conducted by this old humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers

Talk to an expert therapist
She's really good. She has been very helpful.
Reviewed Jun 21, 2018
SmileyBear Camel 2017
on May 14th, 2017

The hardest societal pressure I have had is being different to my family's religion and needing to be different in order to break free from the restraints, although society has a big effect on me I'm not certain it has the biggest impact on my depression. I feel like the lack of unconditional love and care in my life has had the biggest effect. Although that could be classed as society bringing me down instead of raging emotions... I'm not so sure haha

Jack Kangaroo 2014
on May 24th, 2017

Interesting post. 

I personally feel as though the biggest social pressure on people with depression is to simple be in society. Being "pressured" into conforming to societal pressure to be a neurotypical member of society is difficult when you can't understand your own thoughts and feelings; and don't feel confident enough to be yourself.

That being said, I definitely believe that societal pressures can result in depression. Feeling like you lack control of your life, that you're not doing enough or aren't good enough; or just not feeling like you fit in, can lead to people feeling isolated. We're a social species, when we feel we don't "belong" anywhere, that can cause very low periods in our lives, which may manifest into depression by the end of it. 

mimameid Elephant 2015
on May 24th, 2017


I'm glad you brought this topic up as it relates to depression.

Sometimes, even though society does bring structure and order, it also has a big dark side to it. Some pressures I've felt, or have always had in my mind, include things like "You're not going to be truly happy until you find yourself a man to marry". This has stuck with me for so long it's practically ingrained in me now. That pressure, that I will only be really happy once I've found someone, definitely plays a role in how I view myself. And if I am having trouble actually finding someone, It's as if I have failed as a person. This ultimately feeds my depression and leads me down unhelpful roads. 

Other society pressures that can weigh a person down emotionally and can lead to depression are things like your parent's hugh expectations of you, the need to be liked by everyone, the constant bombardment of the image of "the white picket fence" life, where once you get to be a certain age, you're supposed to find a job, get married, and settle down. It's like society creates this script for us to all follow in order for us to lead the best life possible. And if your life circumstances don't align with that script, it makes people uncomfortable, sad, even embarrassed. 

Some pressures might be helpful in giving you a nudge in the right direction, though. I mean, you don't want to just sit around being an unproductive person, right (well at least I don't)? So the pressures otherse put on your, or you put on yourself to try to be the best you can be, or to try to find a job, or to try to do some good in your community, no matter how small it is, those are all good societal pressures that can actually have the opposite effect with depression. 

AllieJo2020 Elephant 2017
on June 1st, 2017

@ErikB I think the beginning of my depression was caused by societal pressures.  Then as i grew up into pressures from my parents.  Some from my bf, but he stopped doing that.  I felt pressure to be a certain person, and i never lived up, and felt like a worth less disappointment to everyone i knew.  Then came depression. 


Such a helpful post and thank you for the direct questions - those are excellent for analysing ourselves and seeing our strengths and weaknesses: 

I have many societal pressures or atleast I think I have but a few that I struggle with mostly are the pressures of being a working mum. I often think am I doing enough for my children and my employer and trying to balance the two is incredibly difficult. I think I feel quite guilty often! I guess many of your will know that feeling sadly! 

Some of the easiest pressures I find easy are the pressures of conformity, I often don't feel like I care that much about conforming as aslong as you're not hurting anyone then I don't feel it's that important to conform. I think societal pressure is good to keep you on a good path but it can also lead to depression when we seek others approval more than looking within. 




Want more personalized guidance? Check out my profile.
PromotingWellness Kangaroo 2017
on July 10th, 2017

@ErikB This post was so true. I'm sure it resonated with everyone around here. As for me, I definitely feel the pressure to have a certain type of body structure, or act a certain way in order to fit in. I try not to let these pressures get to me. Like you said, being you is being beautiful. heart


I 'll raise a toast to that!

impartialShip2309 Starfish 2017
on July 13th, 2017

@ErikB If I had half a penny for each time I felt beat down by "societal pressures" I would have my own island! Just the pressure dumped on me by my own mother and brother is enough to keep me pinned in a gutter. Then you add co-workers and "friends" it is amazing I can get a breath or pull myself out of bed. I am sending these pressures away on this cyber cloud! :) 

on July 14th, 2017

I understand.

Rebekahwriter13 Dolphin 2015
on July 26th, 2017



So what about you?


What types of societal pressures do you notice in your own life? my father always put pressure on good grade, I did that. College, I have Associates of Arts. However I know he wants me to have 9 to 5 (such as a teacher) with a guy just like him and 2.5 kids cat dog and a house with a fence.  

My life is far from that. I have the pressure of wanting to please him and make him proud, but my mom said   I need to what I need to do to make me happy with myself and my life. Those who have pressure take a minute write down things you want or what makes you happy and work on that

What types of societal pressure do you find are the hardest to cope with? What are some that you find are easier? My family pressures are the hardest to cope. My Internet friends are the easiest because I can walk away from the Internet

Do you think that these pressures can be healthy and at what point do they do more harm than good? I think if pressures are turned into step by step goals with good support can do good. They are bad when they haunt your dreams

Do you think that these pressures can become overwhelming and lead us into depression? Yes, they if not talked about. I think depression is a foggy monster that can twist anything and everything you need against you. I think this site really good and helpful. What you need to make the pressures work for you is figure out what you want, make goals and get some support

Are you afraid to stand out?  I used to be very out going. Then I got scared to make mistakes, but now I'm in a "I do not care" phase. If I stand out, then people know me if not, then at least I am doing something for myself. 

immaddie Camel 2017
on July 26th, 2017

I don't know if this is relevant, but I just realized that I probably have been under pressure all this time, or I just overthink about it or take it too much to my heart. I think it will be better for me to share my story here.

I am a middle child in a 5-children household. My first sister is what you call a freak genius. She has a very profound way of thinking, a lot of talents, and so on. My second sister is a successful student. She graduated earlier than my first sister, and is now currently pursuing her master in psychology. My younger sister is a great artist. She learned her digital design ability from me, but now she has taken in to the next level by making money out of it (something I didn't consider since I do it for fun). Then, my only brother, even though he is still in the 8th grade, has a very great interest in animation and application programming. Meanwhile, I am a linguistics student, currently in my third year, and having no clear future plan. That's how I realized that I am not really doing what I like all this time.

Since I was a kid, I often got praised for doing something good, and when my parents praised my siblings, that made me jealous, and I always wanted to do better than them. As I grow older, I realized that I am always trying to please my parents. My parents initially wanted me to become a doctor, just like my mother, but I don't have that much interest in the field, and I can't even look at blood and flesh properly. I tried to get into medical schools in three different places, and I failed all the tests. Until one day, a teacher and two friends nonchalantly said, "You don't suit to become a doctor. You are good in English. Just try that." Instead of feeling hurt, I knew it was right. It was like, I need someone to tell me who I am and what I like. Now I'm a linguistics student, and I don't regret it at all.

However, even now, I still feel this desire to be acknowledged by other people regarding almost everything. I go to classes everyday not only because I love the subjects, but also because I want people to think that I'm diligent. I join several clubs so that I will be called "a student activist." I tried to keep my grades up in order to maintain my reputation in front of my parents, other students, and lecturers, despite having a great interest in all the subjects. Now I know this is all wrong, because I really want to be serious in my study, but I don't have fun at all while studying or doing my homework. I keep thinking about failing behind from my siblings, about my reputation, and I even start to think that it's my pride and honor. Is it?

This is the first time I talk about it this bluntly. I start to doubt my choices in life, and now I feel like falling deeper into this pit. I feel like giving up and quitting, and even running away and escaping, but I know it's impossible. So, I'll just leave it all for now. I really want to discover myself, figure out what to do, and get away from this feeling of anxiety and despression.

lyra21 Fish 2017
on October 1st, 2017

@immaddie i'm sure it'll get better. just keep doing what you're doing

immaddie Camel 2017
on October 2nd, 2017

@lyra21 I hope you're right. Thank you for the kind words.

greenThinker6452 Fish 2017
on September 4th, 2017

I agree.

silverMoment23 Bunny 2017
on September 26th, 2017

How did i miss this thread 🤔 it's soooo true. Most times we try conforming to society's view on things and tend to loose a sense of who we truly are. 

LilGreenBird Bunny 2017
on September 26th, 2017

As a third-culture kid / person who has moved around a lot, it's the pressure from my birth country (and people from there) that hurts the most. They ostracise me for being different and it's hard when a large part of society agrees with them.

suckerforpain Horse 2017
on October 24th, 2017


The reason why we ask "what about me?" is because somewhere deep down we do know that we are different and unique but in order to fit in and live up to the expectations of those around us, we have to keep doing things against our will. Even though the question stays in our mind forever but we sort of give in to the situation and stop asking that question anymore. 

ReservedExcitement Turtle 2014
on December 16th, 2017


Thanks KS for posting this, good topic. 

hibsta Butterfly 2017
on December 16th, 2017

There’s a lot I could say to this and a lot I usually say on such matters (close to my heart) but today my depression wins. 

ErikB Turtle 2016
on January 1st

@hibsta I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic! 

charmingBeauty55 Butterfly 2017
on December 21st, 2017

Live the life , love the life

will0thewisp Dolphin 2018
on February 5th

What types of societal pressures do you notice in your own life?

I come from a low-income family and I still struggle with finances, and I go to an expensive liberal arts school. There's definitely a certain demographic here - white, middle-class, Christian, consumerist, etc. Kids that lived in the 2-floor, 5-bedroom houses in the nice sub-divisions. I really feel like I don't fit in, even though I know there are other broke weirdos like me and that the people I just mentioned aren't necessarily mean or judgemental by default. My best friend had to drop out because the pressure was so intense that she couldn't cope with her PTSD anymore, and I honestly feel like she was right to encourage me to do the same.

The coursework here is also really rigorous and I struggle to keep up. It was hard enough before I had to pay my own rent, and now that I'm working it's almost impossible to scrape by. When I do my assignments, I do well - but 100% on 50% is still 50%. 

I'm also president of our school's GSA. I feel like I can't show vulnerability in the club or else I'll be looked down on for being a weak leader, even though I know my depression makes me weak to begin with. Idk. I also feel embarassed to discuss these problems with my professors. I feel like I'd just be wasting their time, and that they have perfect students to cater to over a tiny worm like myself.

What types of societal pressure do you find are the hardest to cope with? What are some that you find are easier?

The pressure to look good is the hardest for me to deal with. I don't have much clothing at all, and I have absolutely zero professional clothes. I can't afford acne treatments or eyebrow waxings. My shoes are old and scuffed. I have split ends and nasty cuticles from my cashier job. My laptop is old, dirty, and the fans are super loud, and I absolutely hate taking it out during class while everyone else has their lovely Macbooks. I just end up feeling really stupid and unwelcome around my peers because of it. 

I think that it's easiest for me to deal with societal pressures on how to act and speak. I have a great customer service persona and I'm a good public speaker. I use humor to discuss my vulnerabilities and connect with others. I still feel like an alien in a people suit, but at least I'm an alien who can talk to people. 

Do you think that these pressures can be healthy and at what point do they do more harm than good?

Pressure can be healthy as long as it isn't overwhelming. I can think of a lot of people who benefit themselves and all of society because they're pressured to bathe daily even though they don't want to. Once the object of the pressure (success, social relationships, appearance, etc) becomes what defines your worth as a person and the expectations are unrealistic, it starts to hurt rather than help. 

Do you think that these pressures can become overwhelming and lead us into depression?

Yep. If you define your worth on your appearance and you don't match up to your experiences, you can feel worthless and hopeless. Cue depression. 

Are you afraid to stand out?

Yes, because I'm afraid I'll stand out in a bad way and draw negative attention. I'd rather be invisible than be discovered as the alien slug thing I perceive myself to be.

@will0thewisp when I read this is took me right back to how I felt constantly in high school, after I'd transferred from one city to a more affluent one, and I knew I was one of the very few students renting rather than owning a fancy subdivision house. Rationally I knew the whole dilemma I felt inside shouldn't have been of concern, but emotionally, it weighed on my shoulders every single day and I became obsessed with trying to fit in and prove my worth in other ways, like monitoring the way I spoke so it never sounded too "informal" and being super on myself about grades and trying to convince myself if I got the same grades as everyone else I had the same worth (which, looking back, like, it's messed up I didn't feel like I had any inherent worth). Anyway just wanted to let you know this post really echoed and resonated w me and I think you should open up to a professor who seems chill, if poss, or maybe a support office @ ur school.

Rebekahwriter13 Dolphin 2015
on February 5th

I don't think you need to stand out,  but find a group or friend that you can confide in.  I think those with depression or ptsd should have sponsors like they do in a.a. meetings. That online friend that can cheer you on or help you with struggles. I feel this site has helped me a lot, but finding a long term listener has been hard. 

I was in an low income family and got grants but I went to a local community college. I have an associate of arts collecting dust. I just wish I had someone telling it was ok to drop a class  in order to focus better on the other classes. I also live to color code my notes. 

I wish you best on your studies. 

BashfulBelle Penguin 2018
on February 8th


Are you taking classes to get your bachelor's degree? I know it's tough. But it'll be so worth it to get out of this low income cycle that we're in. I got a Pell Grant to finish my degree. And I'm finishing my BA degree online where I can focus on one class at a time. Maybe you could consider something like that? Wish you well!

Rebekahwriter13 Dolphin 2015
on February 9th


I can't get to the college. 

sunmaid27 Penguin 2018
on March 8th

I feel a lot of pressure to be bubbly and carefree. Everyone wants to see a smiling girl. I put on the happy face at work and my coworkers compliment me on being "the most cheerful one" in the workplace, meanwhile the energy it takes to fool them leaves me completely drained by the time I leave. I spend so much energy trying to seem happy at work that I don't have enough energy to be around people in my free time and spend my days off alone in my room recovering. It's exhausting. 

considerateTree2184 Penguin 2018
on April 4th


Yes, according to all magazine and images we are bombarded with, happiness is an imperative not to be a loser. It's also what makes it so hard to change mentalities about depression.

Anna2N Camel 2018
on May 19th

Two years ago I felt down and out, even thought about committing a suicide. My family died in a terrible car accident and I was left alone. I took drugs, drank and really broke bad. To stop that nightmare my uncle made me consult a psychologist. There I got a prescription for cbd oil. I thought it was a joke, I used to take drugs and then I was prescribed hemp oil as a medication. It turned out that it hadn't been a joke and many people took it as an effective means of therapy. In our state it's difficult to buy the necessary type of it in drugstores, so I was recommended to order it here Now I've been taking it for four months and my depression is fading. It's not a panacea but at least now I can back to the normal way of life.

In my case, I think I was more vulnerable to depression because my parents and siblings have or are still affected. Both my parents had a lot of pressure from their own parents as they expected social recognition from their offspring's success.

My brother pressured himself to succeed in a field that didn't really interest him. He was too depressed to really choose a career. My sister was academically challenged but managed through my parent's efforts and private tutor to become a primary school teacher.

For me studies were a form of stress but also a hideout from anguish. I think I was born in a family with raw emotions. I could have been the lucky one, but I was born when my father was getting sick and my mother depressed(I have reasons to believe I was intended to be an antidepressant. Oops)

In fact, like most kids I learnt behavior patterns from my parents : being anxious and nervous was the norm.

After 4 years of heavy-duty bullying I learnt not to care about WTF others think of me. I resisted the social norm, no brands or foul- mouthed behavior or skipping classes. 

The worse social pressure is the stigma that prevents serious consideration about mental health being a illness, like cancer but less marketable, and not considering it worth of prevention. It has a terrible human cost, but also economically and socially.

*Support Forum Disclaimer