Things I Wish People Would’ve Said to Me When I Was Struggling


Things I Wish People Would’ve Said to Me When I Was Struggling

In this series of blogs, we explore the realities of anxiety and depression through the lens of real-world first-person narratives from anonymous teens. What else can we learn about these issues? How can we work to overcome them together? Let’s talk about it.

As a formerly depressed teen turned currently depressed young adult, I still daydream about conversations I never had when I was younger that would have helped me out when I was struggling. Sometimes a few simple words from someone you care about can make all the difference in the world.

While I’m writing this piece to address what some of those conversations could have been, it’s important to note that I’m not intending to point out any wrongdoings of those around me. All of these people helped me as best as they could, but many of us know that it can sometimes be hard to find the right words to say. This is meant to help other people in similar situations find those words:

“Don’t feel guilty for struggling.” – My Parents

A common sentiment I’ve heard around depressed teens is that the only reason they keep going is due to some type of pressure from their parents. I wish I’d opened up to my parents sooner, because when I finally did, I relieved myself of immense pressure that kept me stressed and prone to falling back into depression. This was the one thing that I needed to hear the most.

Let me set the record straight: you’re not at fault for being depressed. You will never be at fault for your illness. You have something going on that’s really tough to handle, and that guilt you feel is the depression trying to warp your world. No one ever blames you for breaking a bone, so why is a mental illness any different?

“It’s okay to be depressed around us.” – My Friends

I remember lots of days when I sat at friends’ houses and thought to myself “this is supposed to be fun, so why aren’t I having fun?” The day would pass and I would be upset, but I had no idea how to express it. It seemed like everyone else was having fun and I didn’t want to ruin that. So I would eventually end up rejecting their invitations to do things. Then I got upset because I wasn’t getting invited places anymore, even though I wasn’t having fun when I went out. Makes sense, right?

I came to the conclusion that my friends were ignoring me, and I started to resent them for it. Then, one day, after I finally improved past my depression, I was talking to them about it and I’ll never forget what my best friend said: “We were starting to think you hated us. You always said no when we wanted to go out so we didn’t want to make you go places you didn’t like.”

Now, whenever we go out together, I make sure to mention if I’m having a bit of a down night. Not only do they understand, but sometimes even adjust what we’re doing so I can be more comfortable. If I knew that before, I could have saved myself a lot of time and stress.

“I don’t love you because you’re happy, I love you because you’re you.” – My Significant Other

People with depression can tend to think that feeling happy is the only reason that people hang out together. I fell for it too – it just seems to makes sense when you’re not really feeling anything. Why would people get together if they’re just miserable?

Well it turns out that people enjoy each other’s company for the sake of the other person. This is especially true for significant others. When you enter a relationship, you’re there for the person whether they’re happy, jealous, angry, upset, or depressed. The people that love you, love you for you. And if they’re only around because you keep them amused, they’re certainly not the people you want around in your life anyway.

“It’s going to be okay, but it won’t happen overnight.” – Myself

There were way too many days where I sat there and thought that this would just be my life from now on. It seemed like more than just a possibility. It seemed like the only possibility. And I thought that the only way that it would change would be if I had some sort of magical epiphany one day and was all of a sudden just happy.

I ended up learning throughout the years that it’s a process lifting yourself off the ground. For some people, it takes a few weeks. For others, a few months or even years. But it happens eventually. I look at my life now and I’m in a much better place than I was, even though back then I never thought it could be true.

If you ever feel like there’s no way out of your depression, I’d highly recommend calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. I promise you that there is a way out. Help is always around and you’ll never regret asking for it.