And another thing…

This is a repost of something I posted some time ago which for some reason jumped up to the top of my postings when I corrected a typo.

It always kills me when someone comes up and says tome how “When I am feeling down…” and then tells me that their “cure” for depression is to smile. or stand up straight, or hang a spoon on their nose. “I feel better right away!”

Well, lucky you….

They have always read a study or a book or watched something on TV about how some New Age crackpot has “cured” their “depression” simply by smiling.

The fact is that actual scientific research shows that none of these supposed “cures” for depression does anything for clinical depression. And I can assure you that if smiling like a maniac all day every day cured chronic depression, I’d have been smiling until my face fell off for Lo, these 50-odd years. If forcing your back into an upright posture did anything but make you stand up straight, I’d have been doing that for years, too.

Fact. If your “depression” is cured by smiling like an idiot, you aren’t depressed.

Waking up on the wrong side of bed or feeling sad isn’t depression.

Spending every waking moment for weeks on end feeling like slitting your wrists is depression.

Spending every day for weeks on end praying for a bus to run you down is depression.

Being unable to get out of bed but being unable to sleep while in your bed is depression.

Spending every waking moment for weeks on end with a feeling of dread and panic is being depressed.

Being unable to articulate your fears….

Contemplating suicide

Being afraid to talk openly about how you feel because the only response you get is  “Get some fresh air! That’ll make you feel better!”

“Meet new people! That’ll wipe those cobwebs away!”

“Try a new hobby! That always makes me feel better!”

“Smile, things can’t be all that bad!”

Don’t tell me that smiling, getting a hobby, wearing bright colours, buying myself a new pair of shoes, or listening to dripping water is going to “blow those blues away”.

Don’t tell me that the pills I am on are doing me more harm than good “because the pharmaceutical companies have people convinced that they are depressed”. I am on medication because it has saved my life.

Don’t ask me how I feel and then get all uncomfortable when I tell you “I am feeling down”.

If you want to really help me when I am depressed, give me a hug. Tell me that you’re sorry to hear that I’m depressed. Talk to me.


  1. azahar said,

    August 11, 2010 at 10:55 am

    I am reminded of the various “stupid things people say” blog posts written by people who have cancer (including my own). I’m not sure that people mean well when they say these things, but in any case I’ve learned to just ignore them until they go away. The depth of their ignorance is just too much for me to take on.

    I’m the first to admit that I don’t understand depression and I have no idea how it must feel, but I also don’t pretend to have a “quick fix solution”. Sheesh, people can be so thoughtless.

  2. August 10, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    As I said in my email, I so hear you on this! Thanks for re-posting this; it’s so relevant to me and something that a lot of people need to hear. I realize people are being well-intended when they say these ridiculous things, but really, they need to educate themselves on the realities of clinical depression so they can stop making ignorant, stupid assumptions.

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