Depression is one of the most common psychological disorders, but that doesn’t make it any less devastating or scary. Living with depression can be isolating and reaching out to others can provoke feelings of anxiety or even fear. Many people still feel embarrassed about having depression. Even though the stigma attached to mental illness has lessened, it’s still hard for people to disclose that they’re living with a taxing psychological disorder. It’s a scary choice. To reach out and get the help we need, we have to risk disclosure.
However, it’s a risk worth taking. Talking about your depression with a trusted person is associated with better recovery outcomes. Getting social support from people you know is one of the most helpful ways to break the shell of isolation depression builds up. If you’ve asked yourself how to tell someone you’re depressed, here are a few things to consider when preparing to have that important conversation.
Choose who to talk to about your depression. The first item to think about is who you’d like to share with. You don’t have to tell everyone you know and it’s a good idea to choose someone who is a good listener and trustworthy. A person you trust who is nonjudgmental and supportive makes for an excellent choice. Telling a friend or family member about your depression is the first step on the road to healing.
Write down what you want to say. You don’t have to get it all down word for word, but the process of writing down your thoughts helps organize them. It can be helpful to rehearse what you want to say, as well.
Pick a time and situation. It’s best to aim for a casual situation where you are not likely to be interrupted. This is an important conversation to have and an off-the-cuff, spontaneous approach probably won’t give you the results you need. Avoid times you know to be busy or that would be too brief, in case a longer conversation follows.
Keep an open mind about reactions. Unless a person has had some experience with depression, they may insist you have nothing to be depressed about. They may offer advice or try to fix your situation, which isn’t helpful. Others might lack any useful context in which to respond. The important thing is that you reach out and let someone know what’s going on with you. If you don’t get the response you need, choose someone else and try again.
Don’t stress yourself out. Building a social support network starts with letting someone know you’re depressed. Making the effort itself is helpful in your fight against depression. You don’t have to meet any standard but your own in talking to friends about depression.
Seek professional help. Getting into psychotherapy is essential to recovery from depression. Having a psychotherapist gives you access to a trustworthy safe person who can help you process your emotions and experiences. Psychotherapists are highly-trained experts who can help you:
- Better understand depression
- Reduce or eliminate your symptoms of depression
- Learn better coping skills to handle stress better
- Build new, healthier habits and behaviors
- Develop better relationships with other people
- Learn to be less stressed and more relaxed
You can also try alternative therapies, such as TMS. TMS stands for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, and it’s an FDA cleared, non-invasive treatment for depression that sends magnetic pulses to stimulate the nerves in your prefrontal cortex, which is linked to having an impact on mood. These repetitive magnetic impulses are produced by coils placed onto your forehead. The impulses are shown to have an impact on neurotransmitters in the brain to reduce depression symptoms. What’s great about TMS is it’s actually pain-free and side-effect-free! Plus, it’s covered by most insurance.
Start by reaching out and asking for help. Talking to someone about your depression doesn’t have to be hard. Opening up is a great way to begin your recovery journey and ultimately achieve a happier, healthier life.
This blog post is meant to be educational in nature and does not replace the advice of a medical professional. See full disclaimer.
Understanding Psychotherapy. (n.d.). Retrieved April 10, 2020, from https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/understanding-psychotherapy