Coping with lack of understanding from the people in your life
Having friends and family who are open to understanding depression can help make some of the symptoms easier to deal with, so it's important to have a reliable support system. But what do you do when there's someone in your life who doesn't understand what you're going through? This is a tricky situation that would be frustrating for both individuals and could cause strain and tension in the relationship.
The Importance of Depression Education
In many cases, a lack of understanding depression is the result of a lack of knowledge. Education is a key part of understanding depression, not only for those who are experiencing depression but for the people around them as well. If you have someone close to you that doesn't understand depression, you can help them to learn more about it by providing them with various resources. There is a lot of information available online, but pamphlets, illustrations, articles, and medical journals are also great options. Sharing these tools with the people in your life is a great way for you to educate them without having to explain everything yourself. You may not be comfortable talking about it or, may feel that you don't have answers to their questions, so this allows them to explore the information on their own time.
Each individual suffering with depression goes through it a little bit differently so it’s important to find resources that you connect with. There are some great illustrations that display how it feels to have depression, as well as articles that describe the physical side of it. There are also infographics that may help to end the stigma and misconceptions around depression. It's good to have some generic information for reference, but finding information that is relevant to your individual experience will help those around you have a better understanding of how you are feeling.
Opening up about Depression
If you are comfortable talking about your depression, hearing the details come from you directly may help them understand as well. Seeing expression and hearing tone creates an emotional connection to the information you're sharing. This may help them to better understand what you're experiencing on a more personal level.
Sharing your own experiences in addition to providing various resources would be ideal. This way they have the emotional connection to your individual story as well as the information you gave them so they can learn more on their own.
Give them Space
What happens though if you've gone through all of this and they still don't understand? There could be many reasons why a person may not want to learn more, but staying connected and continuing to be yourself may help remove some of the tension. The hard truth is that some people just don't get it and there are some who may not be willing to learn more. Unfortunately we can't change the people around us but don't blame yourself for their lack of understanding! Find comfort and peace of mind in knowing that you've done your part to the best of your ability.
If it's important to you that they do understand what you're experiencing, share that with them and then give them some space. Depression can be a heavy subject and could be intimidating for some people. It may be something that certain people learn to understand over time. Keeping an open line of communication with them is important as well because if they have questions or want to learn more, they will still be comfortable coming to you.