Why You Need to Stop Saying "I'm So Depressed"

If you don't have depression, don't joke about it.

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I know breakups, failed tests, bad hair days and fights with your boyfriend can be hard. I know because I've been there.

But, unless you have an actual diagnosis from a doctor, are on medication or seeing a regular counselor, don't — absolutely do not use the words — "I'm depressed" to describe your feelings in those moments.

I've been diagnosed with depression – the chronic, clinical kind. I've been hospitalized twice, on medication for three years, and have a host of scars from self-harm. I see a psychiatrist and a counselor regularly, and if I miss a day of medication, not only do I get a brutal headache, but the world also starts to crumble around me.

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So as someone who's really depressed, I just want you to know that when you describe your problems (a big as they may be to you) as depression, it truly minimizes what I go through daily.

Depression is a disease that affects the mind and moods. It's a real thing. Almost 10 percent of Americans deal with depression, and it affects women more than men. It's a truly life-altering problem that may or may not be an epidemic. And it seems to be getting worse.

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So when you laugh about your grades and say, "Man, I'm so depressed," when someone is boring you with their conversation and you mime putting a gun to your head, when you joke about going home and cutting because your boyfriend made a joke at your expense – when you do any of these things that make light of depression, you're not being funny. You're being rude, insensitive and possibly making things worse for someone who's actually suffering.

During my freshman year of college, I turned to cutting as a way to deal with my depression. And that's when I started to notice how often people joked about cutting, as if the act of harming yourself to deal with your mental illness is in any way humorous.

The more people joked about what I was going through and what I was seriously dealing with, the more I felt like crap. The more people laughed about an activity that filled me with shame and despair but seemed to be my only option, the more it seemed like my problems, my very real if invisible problems, were nothing but a joke.

And that's so far from true. Depression is not a joke. Depression is a disease.

For me, my depression has, at times, completely incapacitated me. It has rendered me  unable to do the basic things like get out of bed, make coffee, or really do anything other than cry and cry and cry and wish it would go away. My depression has forced me to quit a job, take time off from school and miss out on opportunities (like great internships and jobs) that would have changed my life for the better.

So when you say you're "depressed" when you're really not, it hurts me. It hurts the other people who are dealing with depression. It makes it harder for our future employers to take us seriously when we say we need things like mental health days. It makes it harder for the culture we live in to understand that mental illnesses are real illnesses.

You know what else is a disease? Obsessive compulsive disorder. Attention deficit disorder.  I know it seems funny to call yourself "OCD" when you line your pencils up just right, or to label yourself "ADD" when you get bored in class, but again, these are life-altering issues that affect a ton of people and inhibit their functioning.

Please, stop labeling yourself as depressed, OCD or ADD when you know you're not. It's not the kind of label you want, believe me. You don't want to have to mark the "I'm disabled" box on job applications. You don't want to spend a chunk of your paycheck on medication or therapy. You don't want to lose friends or miss out on parties. You don't want to be depressed.

Trust me on this.

Via

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