You’ve had enough.
Every time you talk about your depression, everybody gives you a weird look, and say:
“Why can’t you just get over it?”
“Shut up! We’re talking about someone with a real disease here.”
You wish they could stop acting this way.
You want them to know what depression really is.
But explaining depression is like teaching foreigners about the customs of your country. They never get it.
People either give you unsolicited advice like, “just think positively”, “be thankful”, “talk to someone”. These things don’t even register on your mind.
You want to scream at their ignorance.
Everybody wants to fix you, but you don’t need fixing.
All you need is someone who understands you. Someone who has faith in you. Someone who strokes you gently until you could breathe.
Their Normal Life vs. Your Endless Nightmare
When people say they are “depressed”, it really bugs you.
They have no idea what it is.
At worst, it means sadness to them. They think it means the same to you.
But you know it’s more than that. Depression actually hurts. It inflicts physical pain on you.
You live in a nightmare.
To you, what’s beautiful looks ugly, what’s colorful looks bleak.
Nothing gives you comfort and pleasure. Life has no meaning.
You know, as a fact, that things will never get better. Everything has always been miserable, and always will be.
On a really good day, your mood is erratic at best. One second you may feel a tiny drop of happiness, the next second you sink back into the very depths of hell.
The normal person has no idea how bad your struggle is. Everything he does effortlessly requires all your willpower and physical strength. Even for things like getting dressed and taking a shower.
You may have stayed in bed for days. It’s not because you’re lazy. It’s because getting out of bed is torture.
All you want to do is lie somewhere and stare into space.
People Think They Know you, But They Don’t
Normal people are clueless about your world, so they impose their own values on you. They think their experience applies to you.
That’s why people give you unsolicited, worthless, idiotic and harmful advice.
“Try to think positively,” they say, “be thankful of what you have.”
They have no idea that your brain cannot register anything remotely positive, or that you can’t be grateful of anything in your abominable world.
You don’t even know what “positive” means. How could it possibly help you?
“Why can’t you just get over it?” they add, “Suck it up! Stop feeling sorry for yourself.”
You’ve heard this a thousand times before, and it still hurts every time.
Because people who say this put the blame on you.
It makes you feel guilty and worthless that you can’t hold yourself together. It crushes your self-respect and exacerbates your depression.
But it’s not your fault. It’s not like you chose depression over a normal life.
Depression is not something you can just snap out of. It’s a clinically proven disease. By telling you to just snap out of depression, they might as well tell you to snap out of diabetes.
5 Reliable Ways to Shield Yourself from Toxic Remarks
You’ll never stop hearing unwanted advice, as long as there are people around you.
People don’t change. It’s nearly impossible to make them understand you. And your depression is not going away anytime soon.
What you can do is to act a little differently, and minimize the damage of harmful comments.
1. Relinquish All Expectations
The easiest thing you can do is not to have any expectations.
Give up on making people understand you, because they won’t. After all, they haven’t been depressed themselves.
Assume no one would ever understand you, and you’ll not be disappointed.
2. Parry Verbal Attacks With Canned Responses
When you have heard tons of inappropriate advice, you’ll probably notice a pattern. You can see them coming a mile away.
Using your experience, devise canned responses to retort unwanted remarks. This way, you can control the situation instead of getting hurt.
Use phrases like “Thanks.” “Thanks for the suggestion.” “I’ll try.”
Prepare short, polite responses aimed at ending the conversation or changing the topic.
If someone just won’t shut up, try ignoring their words and remain silent. They’ll usually get the hint.
3. Warn People When They’re Being Stupid
When the words of your loved ones are hurting you, you may want to seriously talk it over with them.
Express your feeling toward their harmful comments. Try your best to be polite, but assertive.
If your depression creeps up during the discussion, let your emotions out. It helps to show your loved one what depression is about, and that you’re really hurt.
4. Hide Your Emotions From Ignorant, Uncaring People
When you share your feelings, you reveal your vulnerabilities and emotions.
The person you confide in should be someone trustworthy, someone you care about and someone who loves you.
Don’t confess your deep feelings to someone who is not close to you. If he is not trustworthy and supportive, he may hurt you even more using the weakness you just exposed.
Don’t give anyone more reasons to hurt you.
5. Connect With Other Depressed People
Sometimes, it may be better to share your feelings with someone who is also depressed. When you do, you will know that you are not alone.
According to WHO, about 350 million people in the world suffer depression. Not that it’s a good thing, but it means there are many people who can really understand you.
There are people who can love you exactly the way you want them to.
Seek out depression forums and blogs online where people share their experiences. Engage in communities. Participate in offline meetings if you can manage.
Sharing your pain with someone else is a great relief. You may even make some lifelong friends afterward.
How To Live In A Dark World That Nobody Knows Exists
If I were there with you, I would give you a hug, hold your hand and listen to your story.
But not everyone can do the same because of their ignorance.
I wish more people would educate themselves about depression, but we should accept that it’s not going to happen anytime soon, if ever.
Although people around you are probably never going to change, you have the power to protect yourself from their insensitive words.
Even if your depression won’t cure anytime soon, you have the strength to cope with it, and go through all the trials it brings about.
I understand that depression saps your motivation, and it prevents you from doing pretty much anything.
I understand that you may not have the willpower to put my suggestions to work.
I wish I could do this for you.
But I know you can do it on your own. I know you can win this battle.
I have faith in you.
Blon Lee is a Chinese Buddhist who helps people conquer stress, anxiety, depression and reach enlightenment. Follow his blog and learn how to become truly happy.