Today we wanna talk about something that’s often kept behind closed doors, despite being one of the most commonly diagnosed mental health disorders in the US: depression.

If you just tensed up even reading the word, we’re with you, girl. You’re not alone.

Depression is a medical condition that can stop you from doing the things you love—it can even stop you from feeling love for the things you love. It’s dark, isolating, and hard to get out of once you’re in it.

An estimated 21 million adults in the US experienced at least one major depressive episode in 2021, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Prevalence was higher among females, with 10.3% of all females experiencing an episode. 

Even though it’s one of the most common mental health conditions in the US, there’s a lot that many people don’t know about depression. We also know opinions surrounding mental health and depression have changed A TON over the years. So today, we’re rounding up the common myths and facts about depression to let you know what’s what.

Myths About Depression

10 Myths About Depression

Myth 1: Depression is the same as feeling really sad.

Depression absolutely can involve sadness, but it’s marked by more symptoms than just sadness. Those symptoms of depression persist for at least two weeks without respite. These symptoms include a loss of interest in daily activities, problems with eating, sleeping, focus, self-esteem, and more. 

Depression, truthfully, can be debilitating—that’s more than simply regular sadness. It’s a mental health condition that should be taken seriously.

Myth 2: Depressed people are lazy.

When people are experiencing depression, they are often experiencing a multitude of symptoms that make it hard to get things done. Not having energy due to lack of sleep and food, difficulty focusing, problems with confidence, and lack of interest or passion for daily activities can all make it IMPOSSIBLE to get things done. 

Myth 3: Depression looks and feels the same for everyone.

Some people who deal with depression can carry out their best morning routine for mental health. Some can’t make it out of bed. While others put on their biggest smile and laugh the day away, while some can’t make a smile that reaches their eyes.

Depression looks different for everyone. One person’s capabilities may not be the same as another’s. People with depression may have different capacities on different days as well. 

Myth 4: Everyone can be treated the same way for depression.

OMG, if only it were this easy. There are so many different treatments for depression. For better or for worse, it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation. 

Some people with depression respond best to medication. Others respond best to therapy. Some need particular therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which can retrain the brain’s associations and responses. Many need a combination of therapy and medication to feel their best.

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Myth 5: Feeling depressed is normal.

This myth seems to be on its way out, and we’re all in favor of kicking it to the curb. We’re pretty sure this idea that feeling depressed is normal is coming from people who aren’t ready to process their own depression. 

We get it. But also—not processing is only going to make it worse. We’re here to tell you feeling depressed is NOT normal, and you don’t have to feel that way, babe. 

We’ve heard this from family members more often than not. Whoever you hear it from, it might be time to share 5 Ways to Process Your Feelings and How They Can Care For Their Mental Health from Dear Gabby.

Myth 6: Depression is all in your head.

This one’s kind of true, but not the way that you’re thinking.

Depression is associated with a chemical imbalance in your brain. So it is in your head,  literally. But that doesn’t make it any less real. And it’s certainly not made up.

Myth 7: Depression only happens in response to a traumatic life event.

This is one of the most common myths about depression, but the truth is that anyone can experience depression. You may even have a depressive episode triggered by positive life events. Everyone’s different.

That being said, major life events, especially negative ones, are risk factors for experiencing depression. When it does happen, healing that trauma may be your best method of treating depression. The HEAL Podcast has episodes on episodes on how to do that:

Myth 8: Antidepressants make you less of yourself.

Here’s the fact: depression is associated with a chemical imbalance in your brain. Meds are designed to support the balance of neurotransmitters that can lead to depression. This can help people get out of a depressive episode and may help them feel more like themselves. 

The good thing about medication is that you can stop taking it if you don’t like how it makes you feel. That doesn’t mean you have to rule out medication altogether, but that one medication may not be for you. 

If you’ve been living with depression for a long time, medication can be life-saving. There’s more on Living With Mental Illness and De-Stigmatizing Medication on Real Pod

Myth 9: Talking about it will make it worse. 

Some people think they have to only talk positively to overcome depression. That’s just straight-up not gonna work, babes, and it can actually be toxic. 

Toxic positivity happens when you can’t respond to or process negative things happening in the world around you. It can make it look like you lack empathy, or the ability to hold space for other’s emotions. It can be one of the signs of depression as well.

You deserve space for your feelings, too. So talk about it! 

For more on toxic positivity, listen to The Bitch Bible’s The Velcro Vagina.

Myth 10: Depressed people will always feel depressed.

GIRL, do NOT believe this one! There is a light at the end of the tunnel if you feel this way: you don’t always have to feel like this.

There are a lot of ways to treat depression as we mentioned. While not every method is going to work for each person, chances are something will. And we wanna see that happen for you.

Need some inspiration to keep you going? Good Morning, Monster tells stories of people who made that emotional recovery. It does get better!

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People with depression deserve to be treated with respect and kindness.

That means knowing what’s going on with depression. It also means standing up when you hear a myth and letting people know the facts. 

Want more info? Listen to some of our best mental health podcasts for more!

Need a self-care reminder for a loved one? Check out this Holiday Self-Care Card!