How to 'Prove' Your Depression to Others
It's difficult to prove your depression to others because mental illness is an invisible force. The suffering it causes is not physical in the same way that the suffering caused by a broken bone is physical. Even a relatively common mental illness like depression often goes unseen. This invisibility can make us feel helpless in proving to others that our depression is real.
The Desire to Prove Our Depression
It is true that we do not owe anyone proof of our depression. We know what is real and what is not. We know exactly how it feels to live our respective lives and we know what those lives entail.
But sometimes this is not enough. We may find ourselves wanting to “show” people that we are suffering.
This can be for any number of reasons. It may be for practical purposes, such as receiving a diagnosis or discussing medication with a mental health care professional. It may be because your friends and family have expressed concern and you are ready to open up to them. It may also be that you feel your choices and behaviors have been misunderstood and you want to clarify them, if only for your own peace of mind.
Whatever the reason may be, the desire or need to prove our depression to other people is nothing to be ashamed of.
Unhealthy Ways of Proving Depression to Others
When we feel our experiences are being ignored or not acknowledged properly, we may resort to more extreme ways of expressing ourselves.
Behaviors such as substance abuse, self-harm, and disordered eating can function not only as coping mechanisms but also as a way to express mental suffering in physical terms. These types of behaviors may show the world that you are suffering but at the cost of being genuinely understood. The stigma and stereotypes associated with these behaviors obscure your experience in others’ eyes instead of clarifying it.
The Healthiest and Most Effective Way of Proving Depression to Others
The single most effective way of proving your depression to those around you is to talk about it. Communication is the key to understanding. No one knows for certain what anyone else is thinking or feeling. The more we have to infer about people, the less we understand about them.
Be clear and explicit. Do not assume the other person knows what you are going through, even if that person also suffers from depression. Every experience is different. It is easy but ultimately unhelpful to project your own experience onto another. Above all, be honest. You may be surprised to find that the one honest conversation can make you feel seen like you never have before.
How have you tried to prove your depression to someone? How did the method work for you? Leave your comments below.
Chang, K. (2019, August 15). How to 'Prove' Your Depression to Others, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 20 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2019/8/how-to-prove-your-depression-to-others