Skip to main content Skip to bottom nav

Why can't my parents understand that I am not choosing to be depressed?

31 Answers
Last Updated: 05/25/2021 at 1:17am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Tracy-Kate Teleke, M.A., LMFT

Marriage & Family Therapist

I assist adults and couples in CA experiencing relationship challenges and interpersonal struggles including anxiety, depression, and a myriad of other life challenges.

Top Rated Answers
- Expert in Depression
June 22nd, 2015 5:39pm
parents never understand anything. They just yell at us because they think they understand us but they do not. Parents are just different, they can't imagine how it is to live in our skin.
June 1st, 2015 6:31am
My dad himself has never been depressed. he has no idea what it feels like. he thinks that i'm 'just a little bit sad' and 'lazy' and ''without plans for the future'. that's not what's going on, i know that, i'm trying to tell him, but he doesn't understand. he compares my depression to his own low periods where 'taking a walk' or 'sleeping it out' does factually help and solve the problem mostly. i don't blame him for it, but it is annoying. he's just never experienced it before, i don't want him to experience it, so it's better this way. i'm going to get through this, and it's only gonna make me stronger.
March 15th, 2015 5:04pm
People often think that depression is a choice. They think it's like a switch, where you can just flip it and suddenly be happy again. It's very hard to get out of that mindset at times. Just educate them further on what depression is.
April 1st, 2015 5:42pm
Depression is something that almost any person can say that they have. As a parent, they may just bypass it as "drama" or "over reacting." Depression is sometimes hard to depict from these things, especially if you're the one raising a child. It's difficult to accept that your own son or daughter is experiencing this degree of adversity. Either of these things can result in neglect to realize the issue, thus making it increasingly challenging to get help.
August 10th, 2015 6:57pm
Because they don't know how depression works. People can't "snap out" of depression like some people think. If telling them yourself doesn't work, then ask someone else to explain to them how depression works. Preferably someone older, like an adult, because it might have a higher chance of them believing. If you can't do that, then sit down with them and explain to them how it is. If they've never been depressed before, then it might take longer.
September 29th, 2015 7:15am
They want to believe that your there happy child that they love. They don't understand why you feel the way you do.
April 24th, 2017 1:13am
They did not grow up in a generation where people were particularly aware of mental health issues. They were not educated about them in schools, and for people that know nothing about depression, and those who have not gone through something like it themselves, it can be very difficult to provide empathy.
June 30th, 2015 12:03am
I think it is a case of some people not really having a good understanding of the illness. They probably grew up in a time when things like depression were not as well known as it is now. There wasnt as much exposure on the mental illness issues, therefore this particular illness was thought of as a less serious issue when compared to physical injuries.
July 24th, 2015 2:40pm
They might simply be ignorant about depression. Our understanding of depression has changed a lot with the advent of fMRI and we are still learning about how different medications affect the brain. The old notion that you can just snap out of it simply isn't true of depression, but your parents might not know the difference between depression and merely being in a bad mood. It might also be the case that your parents are in denial. This can happen because your parents care about you so much that they don't want to face up to the scary possibility that you suffer from depression. Alternately, they might blame themselves for your depression and therefore resist the idea that you're depressed. Keep reaching out . If your parents don't get it, find someone who does.
February 26th, 2015 7:29pm
A lot of people don't understand a lot of things. Why? It is difficult to understand depression or any mental illness when people have not studied or experienced it themselves. Your parents don't know what is going on in your head, all they know is what is going on on the outside.
Anonymous - Expert in Depression
November 17th, 2015 3:59am
Some people just do not understand things they haven't experienced. Depression is not a choice, and if it was then why on earth would anyone choose it? It's a complex issue and many struggle to come to terms with it. All you can do is educate your parents about it - it's a slow and long process, hopefully one day they'll see the truth.
June 24th, 2015 1:04pm
Many people hold a lot of misconceptions about depression and think that it can be controlled, the fact is depression is not a choice and if were no one would be depressed. Making others, especially your parents understand this is extremely important because as humans we crave social acceptance. It would be great idea for you to sit them down and read up on depression on various websites or better yet take them to a Psychologist who can convince them. :)
June 7th, 2015 11:41pm
Sometimes other people feel upset seeing you so hurting. So there coping method may seem like they don't care, but really they may be not wanting to believe that you are hurting, So they're trying to convince themselves you're fine.
July 2nd, 2019 6:21pm
Sometimes it has to do with cultural or generational differences. In many of cultures, mental health isn't a priority or a topic taken as seriously. Sadly, the stigma of mental health is still prevalent today. Regardless, it's really a lack of full understanding of what depression is on there part. Sometimes it takes an outside resource (like a psychiatrist) to inform parents on what it is. In my experience, my parents saw symptoms of depression before I was diagnosed but brushed it off as 'something I would grow out of.' However, after learning more about the seriousness of those behaviors, they became more understanding at the very least.
April 25th, 2017 5:09pm
Depression and other mental illnesses can be very difficult to understand for someone who has not gone through it. Be open with your parents and tell them if they say something that upsets you.
July 21st, 2015 7:52pm
They just don't like to see you sad and cannot understand what you have to be depressed about. They may not remember what it's like to be your age or maybe they don't know what it's like to struggle with depression.
July 28th, 2015 6:10am
It's really hard for people, not just parents, to understand what it feels like to be different than their own personal experience. While it's not your choice, they cant see that because it's not something that's happened to them.
August 18th, 2015 1:58am
Some people don't understand mental illnesses and how they're not a choice. I believe a step that you could take to have them understand is educate them. Education is your best friend. If they're educated on what depression is and how it works etc. their reaction to it may be different.
January 19th, 2016 8:10am
Mental health is unfortunately not a widely discussed issue and a lot of people believe in stereotypes and what they see on TV, and unfortunately those long-held beliefs take time and effort to change (reeducation, perhaps). Maybe you can show them this as a start:
January 31st, 2017 3:31am
Sometimes parents believe that they completely understand you as they see you a majority of the time. But usually, parents don't truly understand you, because only you know yourself that well. Taking the time to sit down and discuss this with your family is usually the best way to go.
October 21st, 2015 10:50pm
Depression is difficult to comprehend when you've never experienced it. Your parents aren't really sure how to deal with it and often, people's way of coping is by blaming the person.
June 27th, 2016 3:59am
Sometimes it is hard for people to understand something they have not experienced. If you have tried talking with them and explaining how you feel, it might help to get a professional to help explain it to them. Again, it is hard for some people to understand something they do not know. Be patient with them I am sure the only want what is best for you!
March 26th, 2019 7:36pm
Sometimes there is a stigma that surrounds mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. When a person has never experienced these, it can be really hard for them to understand that we do not choose to have depression or any of these other illnesses in our life. For me personally, being able to admit I was depressed was the scariest time of my life, I was scared I wouldn't be accepted. But no matter what, even if your parents can't understand, you will have someone here for you. Especially here on 7cups, there will always be a listener for you to talk to, or to even just chat.
August 1st, 2016 4:48am
I think they can't understand because they have not experienced it themselves. They do not understand the impact it can have on someone. If I wish to be happy, I would be. Depression is not a choice. It is an illness that no one can control
May 4th, 2020 7:14pm
I have found that many people do not understand the difference between being depressed and having depression. No one chooses to be depressed. If you feel you have depression, I would seek out a therapist who may be able to help with therapy and/or medication. Those who have never had depression, assume you can "snap" out of it like you can sometimes when you are just depressed. Depressed and depression are different. Usually you are depressed due to a situation. Having depression is due to an imbalance in the brain, something you cannot control. Perhaps a therapist can explain that to your parents.
March 21st, 2017 2:36pm
A lot of people do not understand depression unless they have been there themselves. Most people think you are just sad and can snap out of it...It's not that easy and goes much deeper which is why a lot of places are trying to bring light to depression and actually what it is and can do to a person.
October 23rd, 2017 6:58pm
Sometimes mental illness or scary to parents. They don't really know what to do. And another thing that's a problem is that there really is an official test that you can take like you can't take a blood sample or you can't take a scan of your brain to actually say that you have this mental illness. Try to look it up online to see how you can better explain that you're really not making up being depressed.
December 4th, 2017 3:28pm
It is hard for parents to understand their child's depression. Especially when they do not want their child to be depressed. I would try explaining to them that it is not your choice. Now, they may backfire on you but try to do some things with them so you can show them that you are trying to get better, though its not your choice being depressed.
February 5th, 2018 12:12am
You can tell them it is the chemicals, it literally has an impact on the physical body like an illness and you cannot just wish it away.
October 29th, 2018 3:07pm
Sometimes, it can be difficult for someone who isn’t experiencing depression understand someone who is. It’s a sort of thing that you wouldn’t understand unless you’re facing it yourself. However, you’re parents not being able to understand you doesn’t mean they don’t want to. Their actions may not be what you’re looking for, but, looking from their views, knowing about your experience with depression might scare them, leading to them saying or doing something without thinking. I think it’s best to seek professional help or help from someone who understands depression. That person could even help explaining depression to your parents.