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Why can't people understand Depression?

43 Answers
Last Updated: 03/16/2021 at 10:39pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
Moderated by

Jui Shankar, Ph.D


My worldview offers a systems perspective that values diverse clients and their struggles. I believe supportive and nonjudgmental therapeutic relationships empower clients.

Top Rated Answers
November 16th, 2015 3:01pm
Many people find it difficult to understand something they can't actually see. Depression is such an individual illness that it's hard for others to realize the reasons why someone is suffering. I think it also depends on how we ourselves react to certain situations because the death of a loved one might cause a depression for someone but not for the other. To understand depression we need to see it with the eyes of those who suffer!
April 19th, 2016 3:05pm
It is difficult for those who do not know what it feels like and they believe that it is something that people cannot have since they do not have it themselves.
May 23rd, 2016 6:38am
People are not going to understand. They could try. But truly just try and make it through the day and tell someone who has gone through it for help.
April 18th, 2017 6:39am
People often can't understand depression because they haven't experienced it themselves, which unfortunately is usually what it takes for someone to understand it, is for them to experience it first hand.
April 24th, 2017 1:19am
For people who haven't gone through it themselves, the idea that you have this darkness in your mind that attacks you, and that you can't get away from, is very strange to them. Even if they are taught about these mental illnesses, it is still very difficult for them to find empathy, when they don't have experience.
November 20th, 2017 7:44am
Because things like that are hard to understand uness you have truely gone through it yourself. Through all the pain and hurt.
November 20th, 2017 9:44am
It is incredibly difficult for people to put themselves in other people's shoes. Someone whose life is going great, or someone who has always worked really hard, have a hard time seeing things through the eyes of someone with Depression. They simply lack empathy - which isn't a bad thing - it's just like how I lack the ability to play the drums. Often they try to be sympathetic, but it's very frustrating for them when they tell you they're sorry you're having a tough time and then you don't immediately perk up just because someone paid attention to you. It can be really, really frustrating to have anyone tell you that you need to just snap out of it, or try harder, or stop feeling sorry for yourself, but I think it's a real skill to be able to brush off not just those comments, but those people. Someone who really cared about you wouldn't make you feel even worse for having a mental illness.
January 30th, 2018 5:14pm
There are a lot of reasons, honestly. Pure miseducation or just lack of education can make them not understand, but some people just don't want to hear others out. Be patient. The longer you maintain that depression is a real and important thing, the more likely they are to open their ears.
February 12th, 2018 2:51am
People can't understand depression because they think it's cautious like the flu. No one truly knows or understands the hurt and pain that you go through expect you. It hurts when people just think that your just overreacting and it pushes you over the edge. Depression is not something you can fake or something you do to get attention actually we try so hard for people not to see us down so that they don't try to help because we don't want to be helped.
March 19th, 2018 2:27am
Because it is not just an emotion, they are involved a lot of feelings, emotions, thoughts, and is different to everybody
December 8th, 2020 6:14pm
the reason to why some people can not is because it really takes directly lived experience. it can not simply be read in a textbook but it needs to be lived first hand. Depression is a tricky situation as it makes you believe that you deserve to be in it but in reality, no one does. Depression will lie to you and will create such chaos mentally that it can be extremely difficult for one to live life properly. It is easy to misjudge depression if you are on the outside looking in but at the end of the day it really takes firsthand experience
January 12th, 2021 6:30pm
Many people can't understand depression simply because they have not experienced it. If someone asked me to understand what schitzophrenia is, I would be able to research and learn about it. However, I would be unable to truly understand as I have not experienced it. Preferable to me, is a friend who will sit with me in the darkness and tell me they will see the light for me, since I am unable...rather than ask me to explain depression so they can understand it. In other words, I would rather have someone who cares hold space with me while I find my way out, than someone who thinks they understand and can 'save' or 'fix' me. Depression is difficult to understand, even for someone like me who has struggled with it for over 4 decades. How can I expect someone who hasn't experienced it to understand it? Let's be gentle with ourselves and with others :)
March 16th, 2021 10:39pm
I can really hear you feel frustrated that people misunderstand depression. Those who don’t experience something themselves find it hard to have an understanding of the symptoms involved which is common in society today. They cannot relate to feeling suicidal, isolating from their interests and those they love and feeling like things are out of control for them. Stigmas relating to mental health can be cultural as well as based on being from a generation in which there was no social media and people shying away from opening up about their mental health. There can be confusion from others concerning the spectrum of the illness. What classifies as mild? What classifies as moderate? What classifies as extreme? As people are becoming more open about their struggles in today's generation and less ashamed to seek support empathy is something that is increasing within humans today. Unless people accept the struggles they are personally facing and see strength in sharing their own vulnerabilities we cannot understand what it means to be the other person. For further support please do not hesitate to communicate with one of our listener's or therapists some of which have personal experience with depression and specialize in the subject of depression. We can learn to imagine we have the individual's thoughts, feelings and reflect what is shared with us back to the individual with sensitivity! They just need a great teacher, so you reading this if you ever come across someone who doesn’t understand attempt to educate them! It’s a very nice feeling, having the ability to educate someone on a serious matter and you’re doing the world a lot of good.