1. It is not your fault. You didn’t do something to deserve this, because it’s definitely not a matter of “positive thinking” or a mindset issue. It’s something that’s happening in your brain. You didn’t cause it or ask for it or do something to deserve it.
2. Depression isn’t about being “sad” about something specific. Whether you’re happy, sad, grateful, or none of those things. It has nothing to do with your external circumstances, so trying to fix those often just leads to feeling like a failure because you didn’t “solve” your depression. (Side note: You don’t need fixing or solving.)
3. You are doing a great job. Even if you feel like you’re not doing anything, you are surviving, and that is amazing. If you are surviving, you are crushing it. Every day is evidence that you are a brave person who is capable of hard things.
4. Depression can be really frightening. It can be scary to think that we might always feel this way. And if your depression includes intrusive thoughts, that can be terrifying. Meet yourself with compassion rather than trying to sweep those fears under the rug or minimize what you’re feeling.
5. It can also be really, really boring. Depression can kill our passion for the things that we once loved. It can leave us feeling numb and isolated. And honestly, not being able to get out of bed sounds a whole lot more fun than it actually is. By blunting our experience of the world, depression can make life pretty boring a lot of the time, which can leave us with that ever-popular feeling of “Why bother?”
6. Your depression may not look like other people’s depression. Your depression may not manifest with the same symptoms. You may not “look” depressed. You might have obligations that mean you aren’t just lying around all day.
7. Your pain is real and valid.
8. Depression may not vanish just because things are going well in your external life. That’s (unfortunately) not how it works. It has to do with your brain, not how lucky or privileged you are. And not how hard you try.
9. It’s okay to feel angry or resentful because of what depression has taken from you. Give yourself space and permission to grieve.
10. It can be scary to ask for help—but it is worth it.
11. There is help available. There is talk therapy, there are hotlines, there is medication. There is meditation and movement. There are friends and good food and pets and sunshine. Help can come in all shapes and sizes.
12. “Help” is not one-size-fits-all. Reaching out for help—and the kind of help that actually feels helpful—might feel different for everyone. Experiment and find the combination of help that works for you. Everyone’s definition of help looks a little bit different. That doesn’t make it better or worse. If it works for you, great!
13. Depression is an excellent liar—it tells you that you are alone and worthless, but that just isn’t true. You are deeply worthy exactly as you are. If you are depressed, it is not because you are a bad person. It’s not because you’re lazy or not trying hard enough. Depression not only takes your energy and passion away, but then lies to you about why you feel the way you too. It has nothing to do with positive thinking.
14. Just because you have depression doesn’t mean that you don’t have something valuable to say or contribute. It can be too easy to believe that, especially on low-energy days, but you are worth so much more than just your ability to be productive or efficient.
15. It’s alright to admit that sometimes depression really sucks.
16. You can have depression and want more for yourself. You can wish for better.
17. You are so far from alone.