You read that right. Contrary to what many people may think or believe, depression doesn’t have a ‘face’.
Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions that exist, yet it is the most confused one. It’s like everyone expects it to have one uniform – the same style and size for all. And without its uniform, it cannot be seen, even when it’s in our faces.
Other diseases may show different kinds of visible signs and symptoms on our body that could cause us to visit a doctor, get a prescription, take our medicines religiously, and we’re back on our feet in no time. Is it the same with depression? Do we all need a visit to the hospital and a prescription to ‘get well?’ Wouldn’t that be good?
According to WHO, more than 264 million people of all ages suffer from depression globally. Emphasis on “people of all ages”. It’s that serious. Still, when people tell others that they’re depressed, here are some of the most used comments:
Comments You Get When Depressed
- “You don’t look depressed to me.”
- “You should not be depressed.”
- “Just snap out of it.”
- “Just try harder.”
- “You look fine to me.”
- “It can’t be that bad.”
- “You’ll be fine.”
- “Stop feeling sorry for yourself.”
- “I thought you were stronger than that?”
- “You just need to get some sleep.”
The list of comments is endless. They go on and on, telling you things you should do and not do.
You can’t look into someone’s eyes and see depression, no matter how close you are to them. It takes a bit more than that. Most times, all it takes to know that a loved one is depressed is to listen to them.
A listening ear is the first thing a depressed person needs. I mean someone who listens without judgement. It goes a long way to telling them that their feelings are valid.
Depression is not a colour. It comes in different forms, stages, time, places, and it doesn’t care who you are, what you are, where you are from, or how old you are. It affects adults as well as teenagers in unexpected ways.
The happiest face you see daily may be dying slowly from depression. Again, listening is the first step to knowing and helping a depressed person. No one is above or below depression.
It’s important to be kind to everyone; as the saying goes, “you never know what people are going through” or who is going through what.
If someone ever trusted you enough to let you know that they are depressed, understand that it must have taken them the world to be able to admit that to themselves first, and it took a lot of courage to share.
One can go from being the world’s happiest person to being depressed in private.
Depression isn’t a curse. Please don’t treat it like that.
It’s okay to be confused about what to do when your loved one talks to you about depression. Instead of cutting them off with your cold responses, try being compassionate and patient.
Try starting conversations like:
- “I wanted to check in on you because I noticed some differences in you and wondered how you are doing.”
- “I have been feeling concerned about you lately, is there anything you’d like to talk to me about?”
Conversations like this suggest that you have the person in mind and willing to listen to them. Once you both get talking, you can ask other questions like:
- “How can I best support you right now?”
- “What do you need now?”
Understand that they do not need ‘fixing.’ Being supportive and offering genuine words of encouragement goes a long way.
Conclusively, please pay more attention to those around you, see how you can offer emotional support to them. Also, listen to your body and pay attention to what it tells you; remember that no one is above depression. The doctor can get sick, too, literally. Be kind to yourself and others because depression doesn’t have a ‘face.’