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How can I begin to describe depression to someone who has never had it?

38 Answers
Last Updated: 06/08/2020 at 4:57pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Amy Justice, BS, MA, LCMHC

Licensed Professional Counselor

My passion is to help people overcome feeling "stuck" in unhealthy patterns by facilitating real, healthy changes through self-discovery and practical applications.

Top Rated Answers
July 12th, 2016 5:03am
Depression is very hard to explain and some may never fully understand it. Those suffering may find peace with accepting that not all will understand and those who do not must understand that it a feeling of being empty and very much real.
August 16th, 2016 2:38am
I describe it this way -- Imagine looking at a rainbow using a grayscale filter. That's what depression is like.
October 18th, 2016 2:04pm
Depression is complex. It effects everyone differently. Some people develop depression from past trauma, or a loss in the family, and some people, like myself, have a chemical imbalance in their brain that causes them to feel the way they feel and think the way they think. It's very difficult to try and describe it to someone, who has never experienced it before. It can be frustrating and overwhelming for both parties. You can try starting with some research first. Find some good, reliable resources online, or in a library, that explain the causes, symptoms, and effects of Depression. Share with this person, what depression is. You can share some stories or experiences with this person (if you both are comfortable with that) and maybe see if there was a time in their life, where they may have had a similar experience. But remember, they may not get it completely. And that's okay. Keep in mind, that it's very difficult to understand what something is really like, if we ourselves have not gone through it. They may understand what depression is, but they won't be able to completely grasp just what it's like to go through, especially since every person experiences it differently. But be patient, start small, then work your way up.
November 15th, 2016 9:50pm
Depression is like being surrounded by negative thoughts and thinking that your not good enough and just wanting to quit everything, you sometimes think its never gonna end .
June 12th, 2017 1:06am
Depression can be really difficult to describe to someone who hasn`t experienced it. Describe it exactly as how you feel it. Maybe using examples or encouraging them to do their own research on what depression is like might help them understand.
February 6th, 2018 10:04pm
There is no single answer to this question, unfortunately, as depression can take many forms. However, I usually describe it as being underwater; everything is near yet so distant and when you try to move it feels like you are living in slow motion while it feels like your body doesn't want to move at all (it is difficult to move underwater). Hope this helps.
July 3rd, 2018 5:04pm
To describe depression to someone without that experience can be challenging. Ways to overcome this are to give examples of how every day situations are made much more complicated for someone with depression, going over the symptoms with them, or directing them to websites (such as 7 cups) that have resources and explanations about depression and its causes.
June 8th, 2020 4:57pm
The best description I have heard about depression is that you have a constant feeling of numbness. You feel hopeless all of the time like you can not do anything or accomplish anything. You believe things that are not true about yourself such as : you are not loved, you are not wanted, you believe you are a bother to others, you have no purpose. While none of these things are true, with depression you convince yourself that they are. You do not want to hang out with your friends because you are convinced they do not want to hang out with you. Depression is many things combined into one disease and it can be hard to describe to someone who has never had depression, but know that you are loved, you are wanted, and you are enough despite what your mind wants you to think.