Depression does not mean being sad

Last weekend I asked you on Instagram what needs to be talked about more and in fact, I was pleasantly surprised that the most answer was mental health. I myself have wanted to talk about it many times, but the hardest thing is to say what you want to say the most.

I always told myself it wasn’t the right time, but it never was. That’s not the real reason either, but I probably can’t explain something that most people won’t understand anyway. But that is exactly the problem and that is why I have to write this text. There are a lot of people who struggle with themselves but don’t want to talk about it because they know society still doesn’t understand.

They know there will always be someone who will say they are simply dramatizing or will point at them and say they are crazy. But I know they’re not crazy and I know they didn’t choose it the same way someone with cancer didn’t choose to have cancer. Both are diseases, only one is more acceptable than the other because of some insane social norms that are deeply rooted in all of us.

However, these days I feel rebellious so why not talk about something that is still so taboo?

I cannot speak on behalf of all people who have mental problems because even if it is the same disorder, not all people have identical symptoms. I can’t even tell the “normal” how to treat someone who is struggling with depression or something like that. But I can tell my story and hope to reach at least someone; to show someone that he is not alone, and to encourage someone to think before judging.

Many years ago, I realized for the first time that something was wrong and I decided to seek the help of a psychologist, although according to many it was completely unnecessary. But it wasn’t unnecessary because I was diagnosed with anxiety-depressive disorder. Of course, I didn’t talk too much about it because you know, it’s a shame, you have to be careful what people say, you already know how it goes.

Basically, when I found out I’ve started going to therapy, the condition has improved, it has remained somewhat under control all these years, but this new emergency pandemic has made things a little worse and I know I’m not the only one fighting my demons again, or still, or again. It’s not that we really expected this kind of shit.

So, if it hasn’t been by now, this is really the right time to clarify a little bit what it means to have a disorder.

I believe many think that depression means being sad, but I have to disappoint you.

Basically you are sad, but the feelings that, at least in my case, prevail are emptiness, disinterest in everything, and very, very, very great fatigue. But not fatigue in the sense that you haven’t gotten enough sleep but in the sense that you’re tired of shit, your own and of others.

And you are not constantly listless, “annoyed”, problematic and other epithets that you get, but you have phases when it is better and phases when it is worse. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to recognize what a person is actually struggling with. It’s easier to say she has those days of the month than to think with your own head. But trust me, PMS is also a little pussy towards this.

First of all because this anxiety that comes very often in the package makes you constantly anxious, irritable and frustrated. It’s like there’s a constant stone in your heart and a lump in your throat and they’re just stuck to stay where they are. In that state, I am most “squeezed” by things that I don’t like otherwise. That is, everything that normally annoys you, then annoys you ten times more. Not even annoying, more tiring. And your first instinct is to move away and even hide from it since your energy is already pretty low due to depression. Not that you have to deal with steroid problems yet. You have no strength or motivation, so you focus on what is “necessary for survival”.

And that’s fucked up because problems follow you until you solve them, with yourself and / or with others. You know that, but again, you don’t have the strength and you’re just even more frustrated with yourself because you’re spinning in a circle.

Nor is it the worst part of the story. The worst is emptiness.

You know what’s worse than feeling bad? Don’t feel anything. Don’t feel the excitement as you reach your goal, don’t feel gratitude as you know you have it all, don’t feel disappointed while someone is a jerk to you because realistically, that’s what you expect. My friend used to say: “It’s caring for everything while not caring for nothing.”

Of course. You try various methods to fill that gap and it mostly ends up worse. These are mostly those cases when a person engages in irrational, sometimes dangerous behaviors. Purely to feel something or to distract one’s self from emptiness.

Of course it doesn’t work. It only works what makes you truly happy, and we all know it’s easier to know what you don’t want than what you want. Even if you know what you want, sometimes the real challenge is getting there.

Do you see where the problem is now?

You see why it doesn’t help if you tell a depressed person not to dramatize, to calm down, to behave normally, not to look at everything so black? I believe no one has thought of that yet, yes. Or worse, yelling at such a person because she’s not behaving the way you want, stuffing her nose with problems?

I can tell you right away that any facts, orders, imperatives and an overall lack of signs of understanding can only make the situation worse and make a person with depression never trust you again, let alone listen to you or explain anything to you.

Not just with depression, with any mental disorder.

I know it was a shock to me when for the first time I was able to talk openly with someone (other than a psychologist) about these problems and today I have maybe a hand full of people with whom I can be completely honest, one being my husband. I’m not complaining, but that’s fucking sad.

And I’m glad as people open up to me about these things because I know how rare it is. I’m the first one who won’t listen to the latest gossip and how some woman there looked at you wrong because I’m not really interested and I won’t pretend to be different at all, but I’m also the first one who will listen to you if you get stuck with yourself.

I won’t always have the best advice up my sleeve because I don’t know everything either; sometimes I can’t even deal with myself, let alone with other people’s problems, but I can always listen.

And give you advice to hold on, push yourself as hard as you can while you’re in a bad phase and work on yourself while you’re in a good phase. And don’t be afraid to ask for help and go to a psychologist. Or take meds for your illness. There is no shame in it, you take meds for the flu or a cold, am I right?

Tyrion Lannister said: “Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.” There will always be people who don’t understand, but you don’t need to lose your mind over them. Literally. Just be you, the rest of the world will adjust.

39 thoughts on “Depression does not mean being sad”

  1. Mental Health is super important and I have some close friends and family members that have issues with depression. They are amazing individuals and as you stated… it is not about being sad. It is much more and I love that you are bringing much needed attention to this topic.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such a relevant article especially in an era where depression and mental health issues are on the rise. It is important you stated that depression is not all about being sad, it is way deeper than that.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t think I’ve talked more about my own personal mental health than I have in the past 6 months, working a full time job from home while caring for our two kids under 5. I’ve definitely seen a shift in myself, and am no longer afraid to talk about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow. what a powerful post. I’ve never really had depression but I try to empathize with friends and what they’re going through. This will really help us connect better, certainly nothing to be ashamed of – but it can be hard for people on the outside to help loved ones struggling.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is such an accurate post if I’m honest mental health is different for everyone but there is definitely a perception of depression and how it looks x

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Good you shared your experience because people do suffer from anxieties and I have my friends who are undergoing it. Though I also face it sometimes when I recollect sad things and I realized I must not do them.


  7. You nailed it, as one of those who experience depression, you actually explained well how does it feel , it’s not really just being sad. I’m glad you had a courage to seek help . I did as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Very true and powerful! I have anxiety and I could muster up the courage to seek help, or even identify it after 25 years of my life! Like naive people, I just confused it with momentary panic. I can not stress enough how important it is to seek help.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think there is no real health without mental health and mental health makes a huge impact on physical health. everything is connected

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A beautiful and insightful read. Talking about mental health needs to be more common and accepted in our society. So many people suffer from it in varying degrees..thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Agreed. People have to be more aware and educated about depression and mental health, it is more than just being sad. It is sometimes chemical, psychological and not something the person can control.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Depression is something completely different from being sad. Mental health should be talked about more without people telling us to just snap out of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you for this post 💙 I have high-functioning anxiety and depression which tends to manifest in irritability, exhaustion, dizziness and heart palpitations. I’ve never spent the day crying in bed (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but because of the ‘high-functioning’, people rarely see the struggle.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Very true! I also think that during this pandemic people are suffering even more than usual from depression. I wish more people would be open with their feelings. You are helping many! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I can only imagine what the emptiness of depression must feel like and I admire you for having the courage to openly discuss this and to allow others to learn more through this post. Hopefully, society is getting better at understanding depression and the more that is published and discussed, the more people will understand. You are fabulous for sharing this and being a part of educating people about depression.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Depression and sadness are different because people don’t always recognize when they have depression. Talk about Mental health is very important nowadays thanks for the enlightening post!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. We have just finished a mental health seminar for teachers. It was interesting. It’s better to know than not understand some of the things we learned and I intend to take more training.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I couldn’t agree more with you! Mental health is so important and I feel sad that some of the people don’t take it seriously. I’ve lost my cousin due to mental health and I understand how sensitive the issue is!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Thank you for bringing up this topic! It’s so important to work against the dumb stigma that has been around for way too long. I’m glad you went against the grain and found help, I have too and it’s exactly like you pointed out – we take meds for colds, why not mental health?

    Liked by 1 person

  20. You are so right that depression isn’t necessarily sadness. There is so much more to it. And right now, I think the world is at an all time high in depression and mental instability because the whole world is not living the way humans were meant to. I do hope we can recover from this and move back to a more normal life.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. So much truth here. I always thought depression was something easily spotted in someone or even in myself. But like you said, it’s not always about being sad. In my first marriage I was depressed and did not even know it.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Thank you for such a courageous and honest post. I love to see people sharing so openly like this because it is so important that folks understand more about what it is like to live with mental health challenges.

    I have ongoing issues with depression and my word if it was as simple as feeling sad, it would be so much easier! Its tiredness, fear, confusion, guilt, frustration, and its all so absolutely exhausting, just coping with it and challenging the constant negative thoughts.

    And absolutely yes, this is why those words, just snap out of it, are so very unhelpful.

    There is absolutely no shame in having depression, or asking for help, asking for what we need, talking to people who get it, taking our meds, these are all absolutely vital, it takes a wise person to know they need help and to ask for it.

    Thank you so much for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Depression is not really a joke. Some of people do suicides because of depression. So we should help them to overcome it even just by listening to them.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Great use of Tyrion Lannister quote! Yes, there are people who won’t understand, but….. as you alluded to, there are also plenty of people who DO. I can’t tell you how many times I have shared about my struggle with depression and found that others in my life had, as well, and I had no idea. We just didn’t know because we didn’t talk about it. We are not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Thank you for this! What a great read. Where I live, a very conservative city, people think depression or any mental illness is a choice and you can just ‘snap out’ of it. And yes, depression isn’t just being sad, for me, it’s the opposite of being hopeful because everything just feels shitty.

    All the best, Michelle (

    Liked by 1 person

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    great posts, have a nice evening!


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