Explaining Your Depression to Loved Ones

November 14, 2019 Brandy Eaklor

Explaining depression to friends and family isn't always easy. Many people seem to lump sadness and depression in the same group, but they are very different. Everyone experiences sadness from time to time, while not everyone goes through depression. For those without depression, understanding the difference can be confusing. In this article, I'll be sharing my take on explaining my depression with loved ones. 

Explaining Depression Mistaken for Sadness

When you are depressed, people may assume you are just sad. However, depression can also feel like numbness, lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed, feeling hopeless, along with the other symptoms of depression

From the outside looking in, it's easy to view any of these as a reaction to being sad. Explaining to others what you're going through when you have depression can be tricky because you don't know why you feel the way you do. You just feel it.

The Difference Between Sadness and Depression

Sadness without depression is a reaction to an unfortunate circumstance. We feel sad when we lose people, make a mistake, or have issues at work. Feeling this way is a part of the human experience.

Feeling depressed doesn't always have a reason behind it. While some people with depression experience clear triggers, other people may experience depression without a clear reason. This is what makes it so challenging to answer someone who asks, "Why are you feeling depressed? Everything is fine." 

Explaining Your Depression to Loved Ones Who Don't Understand

People without depression have a hard time understand how someone could experience these feelings for "no reason." You yourself may even feel guilty, thinking that there is no reason for you to feel the way that you do. However, despite what your depression is telling you, it is completely possible to feel depressed for no seemingly obvious reason. 

Explaining Your Depression Through Feelings

Try to be as open as possible about your depression with your close friends and family, though do be mindful of who you share it with. Do your best to explain the symptoms you experience, so they know what to expect. Personally, I like to remind my loved ones that depression is like any other medical issue. Someone with asthma has trouble breathing despite how much air there is, and I feel depressed sometimes, no matter how good things are.

If you have any tips for explaining depression to your loved ones, leave them in the comments.

APA Reference
Eaklor, B. (2019, November 14). Explaining Your Depression to Loved Ones, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 23 from

Author: Brandy Eaklor

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