I'm depressedIt’s very difficult to say ‘I’m Depressed‘ the stigma of mental health is still a barrier to getting the right help and support, therefore, it’s difficult to know if people we love and care for are depressed.

They may hide or be un-aware that they are in fact depressed and that can make it difficult to help them. (The depression questionnaire could help) So what are some of the things someone who may be depressed say?

I’m just exhausted – Many people with depression use this phrase to explain when they have opted out or been distant, what they could mean is that they felt unable to face anyone, or the world, or they may be trying to say i’m depressed.

I’m not good – This is such an all encompassing statement, yet powerful. It will require some digging to get to the real message being hinted at. It’s a lot easier to say ‘i’m not good, than it is to say ‘I feel hopeless’.

I need to get away – This could mean that the person feels that they are unable to cope with the environment they find themselves in any longer, it could be a big indicator that there is no longer any light at the end of the tunnel, or hope that they can feel better. Immediate support may be required. A simple, ‘what can I do to help’ can be a huge relief to them.

Depressed woman on bed.I’m not ok – Most people with depression or any other mental health issue will under-play how they feel, so if someone shares with you that they are not ok, what they probably mean is, they’re depressed, and that they are struggling and need help.

I’m frustrated or angry – Few people understand that frustration and anger are often inter-changed to describe depression or deep sadness, sometimes people who are depressed can find it difficult to name their feelings, asking for elaboration can help them to share more, but be aware of stock answers and attempts to deflect their true feelings.

I can’t do it – When someone shares that they can’t, its much more desperate than them saying they don’t want to, or they don’t feel like it. If someone you care about uses the word can’t, they are sharing their total incapacity to function, the way they usually can, they are saying ‘i’m depressed’.

I’ve been so busy lately – Can be code for ‘I couldn’t face anyone or the world’ simply asking for a little more information like, ‘busy doing what, where have you been, who have you seen’. If the answers are vague or you realise that they haven’t actually done anything or seen anyone, then chances are they have been hiding away.

If you hear any of these words or phrases, don’t be afraid to ask if the person saying them feels depressed, it can be so important that they feel heard and get support in naming the emotion.

Can you relate to this?
If you feel you need support now, the following people can help, just contact them and say ‘I’m depressed’.

USA – Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255
UK – Samaritans
GlobalBefrienders International

If you are not at immediate risk and would like to work on how to feel better using therapy instead of medication, or in conjunction with medication, online depression counselling could help.

Paul Parkin – online counsellor & coach for life
May 2018