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Why don't my family and friends understand that Depression isn't something I can overcome on my own?

34 Answers
Last Updated: 11/01/2021 at 7:02pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Melissa Strauss, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

I am client focused and believe everyone has a strength. I feel confident in seeing clients with generalized and social anxiety, depression and relational goals.

Top Rated Answers
January 27th, 2015 12:28am
Depression is really complicated and people who have never experience it do not understand the depth of it. Of course the people around us want us to feel better and sometimes they minimize our pain so that they can feel better. Once people start doing that we push it down and put on a happy face when they are around, which can in turn cause you to isolate. If you are a person that has lived with depression, believe me you have 'tried' just about everything to understand and stop the pain. I believe that some people are prone toward depression. It can be anything from an extended sadness, drug or alcohol induced or mind body spirit disconnect. Whatever the reason, the only way to deal with a family member or friend that is in depression is unconditional love, just listen and don't try to fix anything. Unconditional love goes a long long way. ~ Soul
January 29th, 2019 1:39am
My depression is built upon my own self hatred and insecurities. Its difficult to help myself when I hate myself. When I’m on my own, my mind consumes me with viscous thoughts and it overwhelms me. I hate it. The feeling of depression makes me feel unwanted, not needed, a waste of space. Every part of my brain will point out the flaws in me, pushing me to further inflict pain upon myself, breaking my mental walls, pushing myself to unrealistic standards. Depression is hard to overcome by yourself, its not something I can push aside or confront directly easily.
February 16th, 2016 1:57am
Family and friends don't understand that depression is something you can get over because they don't believe you actually have it. They think you just want attention.
January 25th, 2015 2:18am
For many people, unhappiness is a temporary experience that disappears on its own. Because, they have not experienced clinical depression, they simply assume your situation will heal itself (like it did for them.)
February 22nd, 2016 4:21am
Sometimes family becomes rooted in old fashioned beliefs that predate medical advancement in mental health. These beliefs insist that things like depression are simply a state of mind one puts oneself in and that changing your outlook can effectively rid you of the illness. Of course, we know that isn't true today, though some therapies revolve around restructuring your thought processes to approximate something like that outcome. Depression usually arises from something interfering with our ability to grieve about something in our lives. The sadness which would have been temporary becomes stale and rots in our minds. Instead of coming and going, it sits there and festers and it doesn't go away. It eventually creates physical, measurable changes in the brain. When people hear 'mental illness', they associate that with 'invisible and made up', but we also know that isn't the case. It is a physical illness of the brain.
February 17th, 2015 1:19pm
You must understand that depression has been very recently recongnized as an illness so unfortunately people still need to learn about it. What you can do is give them more information (youc an find tons on the net), propose them to have an appointment with your therapist who will explain them exactly what depression is are have them speak with somebody who recently overcame it.
April 24th, 2015 1:12am
In my experience many people do not take you seriously when you try to tell them that you suffer from depression, this is due to the fact that people often misunderstand what depression is. With the help of people who are qualified in these areas I brought awareness to people around me that depression was an illness that I had did not have control over but that I could get help to get better.
May 31st, 2015 8:48pm
It's hard to understand things that you're not going through personally. There's a lot of stigma around depression. If in the end you can't make them understand, you may just have to steel yourself against the things they say as best you can when you're not doing too great. Stay strong and do the best you can.
February 4th, 2020 11:34am
I am here to help and guide you on this journey until you are able to face it by yourself. No one can help you change your life if you aren't willing to take the time to work on yourself you can't be the best you that you are meant to be. Your family and friends will never understand what you are going through and even some of your friends because everyone sees things differently. I know how lonely u must feel and no one should ever feel that way. If you want I can be there and support you because I understand how it feels like and I want you to learn some coping mechanisms so that you don't have to rely on anything or anyone else
April 26th, 2015 12:04am
Depression can feel very lonely, especially when people do not understand. My mother and i suffer from depression, so we do understand one another, however what i do suggest is having a look online for articles you can show your family and friends why you need support. Alternatively you could write a letter explaining how you feel, and that reassurance is what you need.
May 1st, 2015 12:55am
It's hard to admit that depression is real. It's easier to push it away rather than deal with it. Some people may not understand how serious it is and it is not their fault. Explain it to them- tell them you need help on your recovery. Never be afraid to ask for help- you have a whole army fighting with you!
May 17th, 2015 4:09pm
Because family and friends dont want to think of you in such a manner. They're close people in your life. People who don't want to think of you as depressed.
May 28th, 2015 3:01am
Most people, I've found, don't really understand depression as a disease-- rather, they see it as something like an attitude. It doesn't help that the word also has a non-clinical context as well, which fuels the confusion. It may help to use a diagnostic term (e.g. monopolar depression) when describing your depression to friends and family that aren't all that familiar with mental health.
June 4th, 2015 10:25pm
For some people, depression is not something that they can understand. It is why it's your job to make sure that they understand what it all means. Explain. Be patient. And tell them to seek more information online if they really don't understand.
June 7th, 2015 7:29pm
Depression is, in some ways, an "invisible illness." For many people it is hard to understand the magnitude of what the person with depression is going through. For those who have not suffered, it can be difficult for them to comprehend what it is like to be living with depression, and how hard it can be to overcome.
June 30th, 2015 4:23am
People tend to think of depression as just a feeling instead of a medical/biological condition. We can't help how our bodies and brains function, and I think explaining it in biological and medical terms can help increase understanding. You wouldn't tell someone with a piece of glass in their foot to "just get over it!"
July 14th, 2015 5:13am
Some people aren't aware of how depression is, so they don't know how to deal with it. Try talking to them or get someone professional to help explain it to them.
September 21st, 2015 4:32am
Sometimes it is hard for people to understand something unless they have been through it themselves. It may take a lot of explaining form you or even a doctor, and even then, they may not fully understand. However, there are many people who do understand depression, and if you look you will find them
September 28th, 2015 10:49pm
They might not completely understand what depression is. If this is the case, then go on YouTube and show them a video on the subject to help them understand the severity of the issue
December 1st, 2015 3:27pm
Maybe they still can't understand your condition fully, perhaps a professional (doctor) can help you explain to them more about our condition.
February 2nd, 2016 11:40pm
Most likely it is because they are very concerned for your well being and they want to help you the best they can to get better. It is just because they care about you!!
February 8th, 2016 8:05pm
It's difficult sometimes, especially if they come from a different culture. The best thing you can do is try to inform them about depression. Hopefully once they are more educated, they will have a better understanding level.
April 25th, 2016 8:25pm
Because they've never felt what you feel , been depressed is hard to understand for people who've never had it , maybe if you try to tell them that you need their support to overcome it they might change..
May 23rd, 2016 3:28am
Its hard to understand what someone else is going through without seeing it through their eyes. Depression is difficult, and hard to understand, even for people who are depressed. People have a hard time putting themselves in someone else's position, particularly with intense negative emotions. People are, from a young age, taught the narrative that we should be able to control and limit our emotions, even though this isn't always true, particularly with things as intense as depression.
May 23rd, 2016 9:02pm
Because they don't understand how depression works, people haven't learned the difference between depression and sadness. Getting information on both and explaining the difference and how you feel may help.
September 12th, 2016 9:15pm
Some times parents and family don't want their brothers or sisters to hurt so they convince themselves everything is okay
October 10th, 2016 2:23pm
Simply because your family wants to heal you deeply. Care about you and help you overcome anxiety ,fight depression and come out enlightened. They promised to be with you in every situation and never fight anything alone but together with them.
May 22nd, 2017 8:23am
They most likely aren't very informed on the topic. Maybe if you could explain and give them facts they might realize that you need and want help.
February 12th, 2018 4:08pm
The thing is we all have some people in our lives which cannot empathize with how depression affects us. There's the obvious "find better friends" which worked in my case. It was hard at the time to cut people which I thought were vital to me, but after actually finding someone which truly understood me, I was grateful for finding the courage to cut someone from my life and put myself out there in the hands of someone new.
March 5th, 2018 10:04pm
Friends and family can find it distressing and confusing too when someone they love isn't coping well and they might be afraid that anything they say or do might be the wrong thing and/or may make you feel worse. It would help if your family and friends are able to learn more about depression and the impact it has on you...that's assuming of course that they know how you're feeling. Very often depression can be hard to spot as it's not like a physical ailment, a broken leg for instance. This can leave the person who has depression feeling as if they are not being helped or are being misunderstood and family and friends not knowing what to do for the best. I think it's important that we have a strong social support network and this can really help with our recovery. Unfortunately for some, this isn't always the case. I hope this helps to answer your question.