I feel guilty about being depressed?

Kelly Davis, Mental Health America

“People have it worse.” “My family has been through way more, and they’re fine.” “I don’t have anything to be depressed about.” “I should just suck it up.”

These are just some of the messages we get and repeat to ourselves about depression. But the idea that you must have something specific happen to you, or that you can have NO positive things in your life to experience depression is just not true. Depression affects people from all walks of life and backgrounds.

While things like discrimination, poverty, violence, and abuse can make a person more likely to experience depression, there is no checklist to determine who has a “right” to experience depression OR who is deserving of help and support.

Guilt is a normal feeling associated with depression. It’s easy to spiral because you’re focused on guilt. You feel guilty for having depression (for burdening others or not being “complete”), which makes you feel worse. Then because you feel like more of a burden, you feel guiltier.

It is not your fault that you are having this experience. Most people—and anyone who has experienced depression—will understand that no one would choose this or just decide it’s better to be depressed. It’s understandable, given the way most of us have been taught to think about mental health, that you might have this reaction. But know that you are not at fault, have nothing to feel guilty or ashamed of, and deserve support and recovery.

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