Depression – Just a Way to Seek Attention or a Real Cry for Help?

Depression is a mental health condition where people consistently feel low and lose interest in activities. Depressed people often feel unworthy, hopeless, tired, and dejected.

According to WHO, over 264 million people suffer from depression worldwide. Depression is widely prevalent and is a medically-recognized mental health disorder.

Then, why is it that people still don’t accept it as such?

More importantly, why do people refuse to believe someone claiming to be depressed?

In this article, I will explore these questions and shine a light upon the challenges that people with depression face when trying to open up to their loved ones.

So, let’s get started.

How Common is Depression?

If you analyze the above-mentioned statistic in more detail, you will realize exactly how common depression actually is.

This actually shows that 1 in 30 people are depressed, on average. And, this is just the official number of people who actually sought medical help and were diagnosed with depression.

But, more often than not, people don’t really seek medical help due to the fear of being stigmatized. So, if we take these people in account, then a lot more people are suffering from depression than you would care to admit.

But, why is this important?

It is important because now you know that a lot of people in your social circle might actually be depressed. That’s how common depression is.

Doesn’t it change your perspective?

Imagine, a close friend of yours is battling depression every day, but can’t talk to you in fear of being judged.

Isn’t that just awful?

But, that’s not all. Even if they do try to open up, such attempts are often thwarted by people and even ridiculed.

Let’s understand how people react when the subject of depression comes up and what it does to people who are depressed.

How People React to Depression and How it Affects the Depressed

Let me start by giving an example from my own life.

I once broached the topic with two of my closest friends at the time. I opened up about my battle with depression and how it affects my everyday life.

One of my ‘friends’ said that she knows what depression looks like and that I don’t try to kill myself so I am not depressed. She even went ahead and called me a liar and reduced my pain to attention-seeking behavior.

What she didn’t know was that depression comes in different forms and can look different for different people. Some have mild, but chronic depressive tendencies (like me), others have a more serious, self-harming case of depression.

But, does that mean that one person’s pain is less than the other?


Each person battles their own demons and one person’s pain cannot be compared to the other’s. 

This is just one example and there are so many people out there with their own stories.

Now, let me come to the point and discuss some of the common ways in which people react.

Common Reactions to People Opening Up About Depression

Here are some of the common reactions that people get when they open up about their depression. 

  • It is all in your mind. Just stay positive, there’s nothing wrong with you.
  • You just want attention, there’s nothing like depression.
  • Depression is supposed to be like… You are not depressed, you are just a liar.
  • You have nothing to be depressed about, you are just making things up.

These are the reactions that depressed people get, not from strangers, but from their own families and friends. 

Now, let’s see what kind of impact this creates on them.

How it Affects the Person Who Opened Up

Depressed people already have low self-worth and suffer from self-doubt. And, getting such reactions from their loved ones crushes their spirit further. 

To a person who is struggling to find a reason to go on, this just might be what pushes them into a downward spiral.

Imagine, your friend tried to open up to you about their depression and you casually disregarded it or labeled it as attention-seeking behavior.

Here’s what it will do to your friend. They will:

  • Start doubting themselves and feel guilty for feeling the way that they feel
  • Never dare to open up to anyone else 
  • Feel rejected and lonely
  • Believe that they deserve to be unhappy
  • Bottle things up until they can’t anymore and lash out or break down

Do you want someone you care about to live like that?

No, right.

Then, treat them with more love and acceptance when they try to share their feelings with you.

Wondering how?

Read the next section to find an answer to that.

How to Behave with People with Depression

Here are some better ways to respond to and communicate with people suffering from depression.

Believe Them and Show Your Support

The first step towards making someone feel loved and accepted is to provide them with a safe space to talk. They will only open up to you if they know that you will believe them and accept them for who they are.

The first step towards making someone feel loved and accepted is to provide them with a safe space to talk.

So, the next time someone tries to talk to you about this, show a genuine interest, ask how they feel and if you can help in any way. 

Listen, But Don’t Give Advice

What people with depression need more than anything is a support system of people who are there for them, no matter what.

This does not mean that you become their therapist and start giving advice. It means that you simply listen to them and give them a platform to share their thoughts.

What’s wrong with giving advice?

While your heart may be in the right place, you are not qualified to give advice to a person with a mental disorder. You never know how they will take it and apply it. 

So, request them to seek help from a professional and refrain from giving any advice.

Help Them Find Professional Support

Depressed people are often not motivated enough to look for a therapist and go visit them.

How would someone who has lost interest in daily activities, find the motivation to seek professional help.

So, help them take that first step and schedule an appointment. If they are still scared or resistant to go alone, then accompany them for the first few sessions.

Knowing that you are there for them every step of the way will give them the confidence to seek professional help and get better.

Be Patient

The most important thing when dealing with a depressed person is to let them heal at their own pace.

I know that it can be very tough for you if the speed of recovery is low, but you can’t rush these things. Everyone heals in their own way and in their own time.

This doesn’t mean that you don’t care for your own well-being and just dedicate your life to their recovery. This will only drain your energy. 

So, the best thing to do is help from a distance, but don’t let it affect your well-being.

What Next?

Read this, understand this, and spread this message in your social circle. 

There is a dire need for an open conversation on this topic, not just in our country but in the entire world.

Start that conversation. Be a mental health advocate. It is simply not enough to support in silence, it’s time to raise your voice and bring a change in our society.

Ready to do your part? Share this post with your friends and educate them on the topic.

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