Are you trying to figure out how to tell someone you are depressed? If yes, you should check out our detailed guide right here.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is ubiquitous in the United States.
Characterized by deep, long-standing sadness and lethargy, a loss of appetite, and disinterest in activities that once brought pleasure, you wouldn’t wish MDD upon anybody. Sadly, over 16 million adults across the country suffer from it.
The only silver lining is that a range of treatments can make a positive difference. Through medication, talking therapy, various lifestyle alterations (including a good dose of self-compassion), someone with depression can and will recover.
Knowing how to tell someone you are depressed is a crucial first step in that process. It feels good to share your feelings, makes loved ones aware of the situation, and opens the door to treatment. But it isn’t easy!
Many people worry about being judged, stigmatized, or treated differently by anybody they tell.
Sound familiar? Well, having some advice on talking to people about your mental health might come in handy. Keep reading to learn exactly how to tell someone you have depression. (1)
Wait Until You’re Ready
First thing’s first: there’s no rush.
It’s true that telling someone about your depression can and will be an almighty relief. After all, a problem shared is a problem halved! You’ll feel a weight lift from your shoulders and see a light at the end of the tunnel.
But it helps to be in the right frame of mind to do it.
You might want to process what’s happening, research the condition, and get your head around the changes in yourself before talking about it with others.
That’s totally fine. Remember, you’re already going through a lot, and this is your story to tell. Never feel any obligation to open up about your mental health until you feel ready.
Think About Who to Tell
Have you reached a stage where you feel ready to talk about your depression? Well, the next thing to think about is who you’re going to tell.
Everybody has certain people in their life who they feel more comfortable talking to than others. It could be their best friend, their English teacher, an ex-colleague, their partner, or their parents.
Like every element of this process, who you talk to is your decision. However, the best people to talk to are trustworthy, good listeners, kind-hearted, and supportive in nature. You’re sure to feel more comfortable talking to someone who ticks these boxes.
It can also help to discuss your situation with someone who’s had depression in the past. They’ll understand what you’re going through far better, be able to empathize more effectively, and offer sage words of support as a result.
Go to a Professional
Can’t think of anybody you know who feels comfortable telling?
You could think about seeing a professional instead. Whether it’s your GP, a psychologist, or a psychotherapist, they’ll be able to empathize, educate, and tell your depression treatment options all at once.
More importantly, though, they’re bound by a duty of care. Anything you disclose will be kept confidential. All told, you’re able to share the situation with someone who a) understands it, and b) has the expertise to resolve it.
Think About What to Say
One of the hardest parts of talking to people about your depression can be knowing what to say.
After all, you’re trying to put words to something you may not understand yet. You’re opening up to someone about a challenging experience and making yourself vulnerable in the process. With nerves and anxiety running amok, delivering your message in a coherent manner can be a real challenge.
That’s why it might help to put some thought into the conversation before you actually have it.
Imagine broaching the topic with the person you’ve decided to tell. Picture having the chat; visualize what you’re going to say. With any luck, you’ll feel more comfortable when you have this conversation in real life.
As always, you’re in control here. Never feel as if you have to disclose anything you don’t want to. As we said above, this is your story; you can be as open about it as you wish to be. (2)
Write It Down
It’s one thing to think about what you want to say. It’s another to write it all out. Why not give it a shot?
Putting everything down on paper has a host of benefits.
For one thing, you’ll be better prepared for the forthcoming conversation, hone in on any key points you want to make, and realize how to get them across. For another, it removes uncertainty, helps you take control, and alleviates any anxiety you might have had as a result.
Finally, writing these things down might be helpful in and of itself. After all, you’re taking these internal concerns and processing them on paper. It might be the first time they’ve ever been somewhere other than your head!
You get it all off your chest, out into the world, and feel the burden lift in the process.
Want to take it a step further? Practice having the conversation out loud. You’re sure to find it easier when the time comes to talk with your loved one.
Pick Your Moment
At this point, you have an idea of who you’re going to talk to, how you’re going to start the conversation, and what you’re going to say.
All that’s left to do is find the right moment to make it happen.
Once again, there’s no rush. You could decide to wait a while longer, run through the conversation a few more times, and do some more research into the condition itself.
Assuming you feel ready, though, try to pick an opportune moment.
Avoid situations where the person you want to speak with seems busy, distracted, or in a bad mood. After all, as important as it is for you to be in the right frame of mind, it’s helpful when they are too! The atmosphere should feel relaxed, and open, and there should be enough time available to do justice to the dialogue.
Combine It With an Activity
Many people find it too daunting to have a face-to-face conversation about their depression symptoms. If you can you relate to that, then consider combining it with some sort of activity.
Whether you’re playing a board game, going for a walk, or out for coffee, the casual setting may make it feel easier to talk. Even better, you’ll have something to serve as a distraction as well. You’ll be able to take your time, gather your thoughts, and relax into the conversation more.
Stick to Your Notes
Found the perfect moment? Don’t hesitate. Approach your loved one and let them know you’d like to talk about something important.
This should get their attention and set an appropriate tone for the conversation. From there, try to recall everything you planned to say, referring back to your pre-written notes if you wish. Be as open as feels comfortable, expecting to a degree of nerves to shine through along the way.
Is the whole situation feeling overwhelming? Don’t worry. Stop, take a breath, tell the person what’s going on, and don’t be ashamed to take a break if you need to.
Self-compassion is the real secret to success throughout this process.
Be kind! Remember, it takes real courage to open up about your mental health. Strive to steer clear of negative self-judgments and pat yourself on the back instead.
This conversation is the first step to seeking positive change. It doesn’t matter if you get emotional, mince your words, or struggle to explain yourself. Whoever you’re talking to is sure to appreciate your honesty (not to mention the fact you chose to confide in them) and be as supportive as possible.
You may even be surprised. This conversation may have loomed large in your mind for a long time. You might have been anxious about the outcome and unsure about the person’s reaction.
In reality, it could turn out to be a productive, helpful, life-enhancing experience that was nowhere near as difficult as you’d expected it to be.
Now You Know How to Tell Someone You Are Depressed
Depression affects millions of people around America every single year. As anybody with this debilitating mental illness knows, it’s distressing, distracting, and can have a profound negative impact on your quality of life.
Thankfully, though, opening up to others about depression can make an almighty difference. By sharing your experience you open the door to support! You can relieve the burden, lift your spirits, and take a tentative first step toward accessing vital treatment.
As we’ve seen, though, knowing how to tell someone you are depressed can be a real challenge too. It takes insight, courage, and willingness to be vulnerable. Hopefully, the tips and ideas in this post will help you do it.
Would you like to read more articles like this one? Search ‘depression’ on the website now. (3)