Living with Major Depressive Disorder

April 4, 2024 Dawn Gressard

I live with major depressive disorder. Much like any diagnosis, disability, disorder, illness, and so on, there is a politically correct way to discuss those who have a mental health disorder. Through my research and curriculum development at my job, I learned that the people-first language for mental health uses the phrase "living with." For example, I would say that I am living with major depressive disorder, not that I suffer from major depressive disorder. This is a more appropriate way to describe ourselves and others. 

Acceptance of Living with Major Depressive Disorder

As I said previously, I am living with major depressive disorder. If you have read my other posts or my blog, you may have noticed a common theme to my coping with depression. My motto is to take life one day at a time. This is all I can ask of myself, and all others can ask of me.

Two years ago, I experienced my most intense suicidal ideation and intent crisis. As I was recovering, I realized that I needed to take smaller steps in life and not take on more than I could handle. Hence, I am living one day at a time. I wear a bracelet daily to remind me of my new outlook on life. I also came to terms with the fact that I need to accept that I am living with major depressive disorder truly, and it is a lifelong journey. Recovery is not an end state or finish line; it is a daily journey that will last for the rest of my life. Consequently, some days are better than others. 

Living with Major Depressive Disorder

So here we are. I do agree that the phrasing of a person living with a disorder is appropriate and more realistic. When I was first diagnosed with depression in my mid-30s, I figured I could take an antidepressant and be good to go. I was wrong. I went back to the doctor and asked for a supplement to my antidepressant. At no point did I think that I should have coping skills or other ways to deal with my depression along with the medication I was taking. I was ignorant of the fact that depression is not curable; it may go into remission, but it is not curable. 

It wasn't until recently that I came to terms with the fact that my depression will always be with me. How I live and cope with major depressive disorder makes each day a good or not-so-good one. Think of it this way: if I were diagnosed with chronic arthritis, I would say that I am living with arthritis in my knee. There is no cure for arthritis, but there are ways to manage and cope with the pain and stiffness. For instance, I may take an anti-inflammatory and do physical therapy exercises to keep the stiffness at bay. Then, I may begin to avoid staircases because they could trigger the pain in my knee. 

Living with major depression is similar. I take medications, but I also practice mindfulness and use my coping skills daily. Practice makes perfect, right? I have also recognized some of the external triggers that could cause me to head towards a depressive episode. Thus, I avoid them if possible, or I have developed specific coping skills to deal with those particular triggers. Additionally, because I am living with, not suffering from, depression, my coping skills are constantly evolving because as life goes on, I am also changing. 

All in all, acknowledging that I am living with major depressive disorder and will always live with major depressive disorder has helped me learn to cope and continue my journey of recovery one day at a time. 

APA Reference
Gressard, D. (2024, April 4). Living with Major Depressive Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 29 from

Author: Dawn Gressard

Dawn Gressard is a freelance Veterans Affairs benefits, mental health wellness, and suicide prevention writer and a trainer of a peer-supported suicide prevention and crisis intervention program. Find Dawn on X, Instagram, LinkedIn, and her personal blog.

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