How to Explain Depression to Someone Who Doesn’t Have It?

August 20, 2021
Explaining Depression


Depression is the leading cause of disability globally and affects more than 264 million people. While depression is widespread, most people don’t have accurate information about the condition. If you suffer from depression or have a loved one with the illness, explaining it to someone who doesn’t have it can be frustrating.

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Read on for tips to help you speak up about depression, so others can understand your situation and offer the support you need to get better.


How Do You Explain Mental Illness to Someone Who Doesn’t Understand It?

Since everyone experiences depression differently, there is no single way to go talking about it. So how do you explain mental illness to someone who doesn’t have it? Below are few tips you can use to speak about the condition.

1. Depression Is Not the Same as Sadness

The first step to helping others understand the condition is by explaining what is it. Although it is normal to have a bad day and get sad, depression is not the same as sadness. It is a mental illness that may be severe enough to impair your ability to perform daily activities. While it has elements of sadness, depression is more than that.

Some of the symptoms of depressions include:

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Low self-esteem 
  • Irritability and intolerance
  • Lack of interest in previously pleasurable activities
  • Lack of motivation
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Sleeping problems
  • Avoiding contact with friends and family
  • Difficulty keeping up with daily activities
  • Suicidal and self-harm thoughts
  • Continuous sadness and anxiety

Unlike sadness, you feel depression physically. It may come off as sleeping problems because you are constantly worried, stressed, fatigued, and lethargic. Depression can also increase your heartbeat and cause upset stomach.


Types of Depression
Most Common Types of Depression


2. It’s Difficult to Make Rational Decisions when in Crisis

Depression and anxiety can make your emotions, thoughts, and even physical sensations overwhelming. Most people may brush depression symptoms as overreacting or attention-seeking and wonder why you are indecisive. 

People who suffer from depression go through emotional, physical, and psychological roller coasters. As such, you feel trapped in a vicious loop of opposing forces. Therefore, when in crisis, it’s difficult to make rational decisions. This can cause poor judgment or indecisiveness.

3. Depression is Treatable

Most people make the mistake of self-medicating or using drugs to deal with depression. However, it may make it worse or lead to other problems like addiction. Even though depression can be debilitating, all hope is not lost.  Various treatment options exist to boost mental wellbeing and alleviate the symptoms.

 Although there is no quick fix, depression is treatable when you seek professional help. With medication, therapy, support from family and friends, and even an emotional support animal, you can overcome depression and live a healthier and happier life. Fortunately, there are numerous online and offline avenues and platforms where you can seek help and get access to tailored treatment plans.

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4. It’s Not a Choice, and Anyone Can Experience It

One thing about depression is that anyone can experience it, regardless of social or economic status or age. While some factors like genetics and a family history of mental illness may predispose you to the condition, anyone can get it. 

Some of the risk factors include health conditions, loss of a loved one, having a baby (postpartum depression), and alcohol and substance abuse. Trauma, chemical imbalances in the brain, and some medications may also result in depression. Therefore, it is not a choice, and no one has control over whether or not they experience depression.

Explaining depression in personal terms to someone who doesn’t understand mental illness can be harder than speaking about it generally. Consider taking note of your symptoms and how the condition affects your daily life so you can draw from it during your discussion. Doing so will give the other party a picture of what you are going through.


Depression Treatment
Alternative Therapies for Depression


What Type of Thinking Is Associated with Depression?

Since depression is a mental disorder, it is not strange that it impacts your thought process. Most times, individuals with depression have negative thoughts from feelings of hopelessness and low self-esteem. The negative thinking feeds the disorder and may make it worse. Below are a few thoughts that depression may cause:

  • Overgeneralization
  • Jumping to conclusions
  • Emotional reasoning
  • Regrets
  • An all-or-nothing attitude
  • Confirmation bias where you only see what you want to see


Can You Have a Little Bit of Depression?

Depression comes in many forms. While some people may experience major or persistent depression lasting more than 2 years, others only exhibit mild symptoms for a short period. Atypical depression, for example, only lasts until something positive happens. Also, you may experience seasonal depression that comes only during specific times of the year. If you exhibit any signs of depression, it is advisable to seek help for evaluation and early treatment so you can manage it early.

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The above tips can help you explain to your loved ones about your condition and let them know how they can support you towards recovery. In case you need professional help, contact us at Mango Clinic for reliable solutions to improve your mental wellbeing, or click the banner below to book your appointment.


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