• Sun, Dec 8 - 5:00 pm ET

Top 7 Things Not To Say To A Depressed Mom

I am almost 30, and at this point I have been dealing with major depression since I was 11-years-old, so basically two thirds of my entire life. I was diagnosed in early adolescence after a series of events that I’d rather not delve into here, and it’s been a struggle ever since.

I have always tried to be pro-active about my mental health, and I think getting a diagnosis at a young age helped with that, but due to the stigma attached to mental illness, I’ve always had to deal with some level of judgment. This pretty much tripled when I had kids. No one would question a person’s ability to parent because they had diabetes (as long as they were treating it properly) so why is it deemed okay to do so for depression, or other treatable mental illnesses? Below are some of the shitty things that have been said to me over the years. Some are merely annoying, while other are infuriating, but all of them are ridiculous and better left unsaid.

7. “Too many people are on medication. A pill won’t make your life better.”

This is the point where I try to use the force to strangle someone.

Would you say this to a diabetic? How about someone on dialysis? Why is it beyond some people’s comprehension that something like depression can be treated with medication, but they never balk at other, more visible conditions? Ironically, these are the same people who have no problem smoking a cigarette or getting drunk every weekend (not that I judge drunkenness, it’s wonderful).

*I in no way meant to negate anyone’s experiences with people who deny diabetes or other diseases. I know that it does happen. But I think the average person is more inclined to accept a disease where there are more visible symptoms, and less controversy surrounding its existence. In the end my point is that people are d-bags*

6. “You can’t just be sad all the time!”

Then I move on to strangling random furniture.

Yes I can. It’s called major depression. Why are we even having this conversation. You suck,

5. “Of course you’re depressed, you’ve made so many bad choices.” 

Or perhaps I will abuse a soda can or two…

This was in regards to having a child at 19. Even though I still finished college, had my daughter with my high school sweetheart (who I ended up being with for almost a decade) and worked my ass off. Not to mention that this isn’t how depression works. And seeing as I was diagnosed at 11, what bad choices had I made then? Infuriating.

4. “Aren’t you afraid your kids will become crazy?”

Even Tom Gunn hates you.

The problem here is less the question itself. It’s not a terrible, insulting question, or at least it wouldn’t be if it was phrased differently. No, the problem is WHO asks it. It would be understandable for my doctor, or a close friend or relative to ask, but I once had a woman who was in line behind me at the pharmacy ask this. She had the gall to not only look over my shoulder as see what my medication was, but then to ask this highly personal question. And right in front of my kids. It was a total WTF moment.

3. “Can’t you just cheer up?”

The feels man, the feels.

Once again, depression just doesn’t work this way. The problem isn’t that I’m being a Debbie Downer or a sad sack, and I should just suck it up. This is usually said by someone who doesn’t “believe” in mental illnesses, and thinks we’re all just making it up. Who cares what a little thing called science says, right? Ugh.

2. “How can your husband trust you with the kids?”

Aaaaaand I’m back to abusing the furniture.

This was said to me by an in-law (the same lady who tried to sell me, a recovering bulimic, diet products, so as you can see, she is just a peach). As I mentioned above, I am very pro-active about my condition. I see a doctor regularly, I take medication, and I see a therapist. If, and this is a very huge if, I ever got to the point where I was a danger to myself and others, I think everyone would have ample warning. But it’s never happened, and my condition isn’t so severe that I’ve ever been suicidal or dangerous in anyway. I mean, there’s been a few times when I’ve stayed in bed and missed a couple of showers, so I might have SMELLED dangerous, but I don’t think that counts.

1. “Don’t your children make you happy?”

BOOM

This is probably the most rage inducing from me. Do people think we WANT to feel like this? I would call this phrase, if there were a depressed person guilt bingo board, the “Disneyfied Guilt Trip.” Everything simply MUST be all sweetness and light once you pop out a uterus fruit, or you just aren’t a good mom. YES, I love my kids. YES, they make me happy. That has nothing to do with how my brain is wired, or the chemicals in my body that are causing my depression. Trust me, if there was some kind of off switch I could throw to make myself feel wonderful all the time, don’t you think I would throw it? The lack of basic empathy that people have never ceases to amaze me.

What We're Reading:
Share This Post:
  • Justme

    The worst one for me to hear when I was in the midst of PPD was…

    “If you’re not breastfeeding/staying home/co-sleeping/baby-wearing/etc. why would you even have a baby? People that don’t do XYZ probably shouldn’t have become mothers.”

    Ouch.

    • Lackadaisical

      Sounds like whoever said it to you was having problems of their own coping with the life changes involved in motherhood and was trying to justify their way of handling it and the sacrifices that they felt they had to make when faced with someone who on the surface seemed to be finding motherhood easier. When you feel like you are cracking up on the inside other people may not see it and some of the people who seem happy and calm may be putting up a facade to hide the fact that they feel like they are cracking up or are scared.

    • Justme

      That sounds really sweet…but no, she was dead serious.

    • Andrea

      You know, I never thought of it that way. I never thought that maybe this came from someone who made a choice that was fucking hard for them to make and then saw that other people didn’t and kids were just fine; so maybe they didn’t have to do it, but she did, so now everyone should. Interesting point of view!

    • SarahJesness

      I’m convinced that all super-judgey parents are like this. They’re convinced that if they don’t raise their kid exactly right, he’ll be a screw-up, so they need to convince themselves that they’ve gone in the right direction. That means they need to put down anyone who went in a different direction.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      Ugh, I’ve gotten similar stuff too. It’s terrible. People like that are just the worst.

    • 123

      123

    • SusannahJoy

      456?

    • Simone

      Silly you! It’s 19.4, everyone knows that :)

    • EmmaFromÉire

      People like that can fuck right off back to their house on the prairie.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      Best. Comment. Ever.

    • Jessie

      This better win one of those “Epic Reader Comments” shout outs.

    • Heather Rainbolt Kahan

      Oh boy. I got that too. I really wish I didn’t have the interwebs when I had my first child.

  • Véronique Houde

    I saw this on my facebook wall today and thought it was appropriate ;)

  • Lackadaisical

    With regard to number 4, crazy is completely the wrong word but I have noticed early signs of my husband’s depression in one of our kids, along with my anxiety in another. They aren’t crazy (and neither are you, it’s a rubbish word for people to use against you in this context) but having been through it ourselves of course we watch out for it in our kids so that we can support them and try to help them develop ways to manage it as best as they can.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      I get your point. My problem with that particular one was that it was a complete stranger who said it to me. I had never ;laid eyes on this woman. As I mentioned in the article, I can understand the question (put in a nicer way, of course) from a friend, relative or doctor, but not some random lady in the pharmacy waiting area, lol.

    • Kay_Sue

      For any parent (or anyone that wants to be a parent and even those that decide not to because of it) with a mental disorder, I think this is a huge fear…and totally inappropriate and insensitive for most folks–especially a stranger–to ask about. Of course it’s a fear that one’s children will inherit what they struggle with day to day. I totally understand what you mean here, and I probably would not have been able to respond maturely.

      It would probably be something along the lines of, “Aren’t you afraid your children will inherit your face?”

      And I’d know it wasn’t appropriate either, but I’d be unable to stop myself.

    • Blueathena623

      Considering all the crazy in my family (myself and husband included) I’ve had tons of people ask if I’m scared my kids will get x,y,z, and I kinda am, but — major confession time — I’m really not worried because I like being me and wouldn’t change who I am, and I find people saying, essentially ” are you worried your kid will be like you” insulting.

    • Kay_Sue

      That’s a good point. I do worry about it, personally, for my older son especially. It’s such a struggle somedays–and I am not even the “worst” in my family, let alone the other side.

      I do wish there were a way I could spare him from ever having to go through it. I wouldn’t change me, but if I could make his life easier, I can’t say that I would turn that down, honestly.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      “- I’m really not worried because I like being me and wouldn’t change who I am” YES. THIS, Thank you.

    • Justme

      If anything, I would think that you would be a better parent to a child with mental health needs because you have a deeper understanding of what is going on in their body and brain as opposed to a parent who has no history of mental health issues themselves.

    • Blueathena623

      My aunt had bipolar too. She’s an example of what can happen when parents have no idea how to help a mentally ill child. She was brilliant and creative and artistic . . . and her life was basically wasted and ended pathetically. I’ve heard stories of things she did in her late teens, early 20′s, and I have no idea why no one got her help.
      My parents were proactive, I got help, and my life has meaning. I think I can do that for my kids too.

    • Alanna Jorgensen

      I’m often afraid my daughter will inherit my COD, as it has passed through at least four generations of my family now. I watch for signs all the time, but I can’t imagine how I would react if a stranger brought it up. My friends haven’t even done so.

  • keelhaulrose

    I got a “how can you be unhappy with two beautiful little girls to love?”
    First, it’s not a choice. I’d love to be “over” it, but it’s not like a damn lightbulb that I can turn on and off at will.
    Second, does that mean I’d be allowed to be depressed if my kids were ugly? What’s the cutoff here? If your kids are a six or below you’re allowed to have depression?

    • EmmaFromÉire

      ”My kids are hideous so obviously i’m depressed.”

      I always find it odd when you hear about someone who has passed away, and the comments are along the lines of ”it’s such a shame, she was so beautiful!” Is it less of a loss if the person is fuck ugly or something?

    • keelhaulrose

      It’s an odd comment which I think, in the context of depression, is supposed to pointing out a good trait, but it does seem to imply that pretty kids deserve more.

    • Andrea

      I guess it sounds insensitive, but I never actually thought of it that way. When someone says “beautiful children”, I always assume they mean more than just physical appearance. I guess I could be wrong.

    • SarahJesness

      LOL.

      There’s also the implication that if you have kids who aren’t like, ugly serial killers or something, you should never be unhappy.

  • Emil

    A friend of mine with CP (and in a wheelchair) once went to a kindergarten to talk about being handicapped. The kids just couldn’t understand why she couldn’t stand up and walk. Whenever I start to have a rage headache because someone makes a stupid comment about mental illness I remember those kindergartners and remind myself that the stupid comments come from people that are uneducated and just don’t get it and I try not to take it personally.

    • Tinyfaeri

      …Those were 5 year olds. I don’t think anyone would mind the things above being said by a 5 year old, but by the time you’re an adult, unless you have some form of developmental delay, there is no excuse for that kind of ignorance.

    • Emil

      I don’t do it to make excuses for anyone its just something I remind myself to avoid getting really upset (I work in mental health so I encounter this a lot). I also know of many people that have become depressed later in life and until they experienced it themselves they just didn’t get it. They then have to deal with both being depressed and feeling guilty for all the people they judged over the years.

    • Tinyfaeri

      Do what works for you, but it is making excuses for them – it’s up there with an adult asking rude, personal questions of someone and then saying “Oh, I’m not rude, I’m just curious.” The things above aren’t just about understanding mental health. Asking a stranger (or even a friend) if they’re worried a child will be crazy because their mother is taking medication, or asking a relative if her husband can still trust her around her own children, or blaming depression on bad choices like having a child young aren’t just ignorance. There is no possible outcome from saying any of those things other than hurt feelings, and they’re all incredibly rude. While I don’t think we should go back to Victorian manners, I don’t see why adults cannot be held to stronger standards than they are as far as politeness and courtesy go.

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      Holy shit, I *finally* understand the point of Victorian manners. It all makes so much sense. I never thought about the purpose of them before, just how silly they were. But maybe they weren’t silly, but brilliant.

    • Katia

      Yeah that’s a problem with today’s culture. We want to be all open and honest and often it ends up bad! Hence this very article.

    • Simone

      That depends on how much education you’ve been able to access and what types of cultural, economic and social capitals you’ve received from your natal family. People really can be that ignorant for genuine reasons, though it does make it hard.

    • Tinyfaeri

      Please tell me, in what country or culture could spontaneously saying “aren’t you afraid your children will turn out crazy?” to a stranger after looking over her shoulder at the medication she’s buying be anything but hurtful and rude?

    • Simone

      In cultures where it’s normal for strangers to be very interested in others – collectivist cultures as opposed to individualistic cultures. Of course it’s a rude and horrible thing to do in a Western culture and quite inexcusable. But there are many, many groups in society that really don’t have access to the kinds of constant education which result in a basic understanding of mental health, and that’s often not their fault.

  • AugustW

    I offer this to anyone who has a hard time describing their depression.

    The dead fish part…it’s like it was written for me.

    http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2013/05/depression-part-two.html

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      I love Allie Brosh and that is one of my favorite posts of hers.

    • Simone

      Oh, I mentioned this above, I should have read all the way down first. The fish thing was what truly nailed it for me. She is amazing.

    • Allyson_et_al

      “No, see, that solution is for a different problem than the one I have.” That runs through mind at least once a day.

  • blh

    I think the first too can be pretty valid. I was depressed BC I was 21, poor and had a baby with an asshole. There ISNT a pill that can fix that. If you’re depressed BC of a chemical imbalance then by all means a pill will help but there’s no medicine for a crappy situation.

    • Kay_Sue

      Even in instances where you’re going through a rough patch, some people do need medication to keep themselves stable until they’re back on their feet–and that’s perfectly okay.

      Everyone experiences these things differently, and it’s not for anyone without knowledge of the situation (or with rudimentary, crude knowledge of the situation, like some members of my family have been known to do) to judge whether it is appropriate or not for that person to be medicated.

    • Blueathena623

      I’m up voting this because I’m reading this differently than everyone else. I do think it is possible to be depressed without it being a chemical imbalance, and that is where some therapy (if needed) could help.
      I’m not seeing the judging of people who do need to take pills.

    • Justme

      I read it the same way. I’m quite surprised at the amount of down votes.

    • Kay_Sue

      While it *can* be valid, it’s not a judgement that anyone can make except the patient and the doctor.

      I was 19 at one point and having a baby by a douchebag. I had no job and would have to give up a full ride to college because of the timing of my son’s birth. It was a crappy situation. It did not cause my depression, which I had suffered with throughout my life, and yet, anyone looking at it from the outside could have said, “Hey, just suck it up and learn to deal with it.”

      That’s where the difference lies for me. Sure it can be a valid point. It’s just not okay to say to anyone, in my opinion.

    • EmmaFromÉire

      I went through a run of depression last year, and was also told to just suck it up, because what did I have to be depressed about? I think it’s sad people don’t realise that depression can happen to anyone.
      It’s not like it’s a new disease either, or a purely Western one. There was a fantastic article in New Scientist last week about it (you’d never guess I was a scientist, would you?) that talked about depression in historic populations, and in a Nomadic Tribe in central-eastern Europe (sorry, Europe is bloody big and I was a bit sleepy at the time!). Seeing all this new and wonderful information come out makes me even more furious that mental illnesses are so stigmatised.

    • Kay_Sue

      My mom got that a lot when she was first diagnosed. She struggled without it from a very young age, and wasn’t diagnosed until her late twenties. Even then, we were involved with a very conservative church, and they regularly recommended that she pray harder and questioned her faith…which really made sense with helping her through the situation. People are just…clueless and insensitive sometimes.

      I don’t really understand how people can debate that it exists. You can debate how to treat it–that’s totally rational, and productive in some cases. I read an article recently on the differences between how ADHD is treated in the US and France and how that could very well be the difference in their rates of diagnosis (France has a 0.05%, while we are at 9% in the US). Nobody was debating whether it actually existed–just the differences in the treatments and other sociocultural factors that could explain why they have a lower manifestation. There were points made that we don’t treat it as effectively. That type of discussion is productive. Denial? Not so much.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      I didn’t really read it in a negative way either.

    • blh

      That’s what I meant.

    • noelle 02

      I agree entirely.

  • http://ultimatemamacat.tumblr.com/ Hana Graham

    Thank you so much for this <3

  • CrazyLogic

    I was once told watching comedy movies would help my depression and that yoga would cure my anxiety disorder.

    That waitress got no tip.

    • Blueathena623

      I hate stuff like that because it makes it so much harder/tricky for people to discuss legit mental hygiene tips. In general, the majority of people with bipolar need to regulate their sleep. Some studies have shown that extra vitamin D can help with some cases of depression. Yoga is sometimes helpful for some people with anxiety. The problem is when people make blanket statements, especially in terms of cures.

    • CrazyLogic

      Well, I get the advice that “things that you enjoy might help” or “yoga may aid in teaching you breathing methods that will aid panic attacks”

      This lady said I wouldn’t nee prozac if I did those. Bullshit.

    • Blueathena623

      No, I totally agree that she was a snot and ignorant as hell.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      I actually think vitamin D has been helpful over the years. I get CrazyLogic’s point though (and yours too, of course). Just adding my two cents!

    • Katia

      Yes vitamin d has benefits that aRe not disputed. I guess if it were a cure all there would be no Prozac tho

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      Katia, don’t get me wrong. Prozac saved my life. I believe that. Vitamin D was helpful, but not a game changer in my life the way Prozac was. In fact, Prozac was one of the only things I was given that helped me, personally, without a ton of terrible side effects.

    • Des Wilson

      Yoga really DID cure my anxiety. Just kidding. I couldn’t help it. Yoga made my libido go up. That’s all.

    • Simone

      I do know a woman who treated her anxiety effectively using yoga – her anxiety attacks ceased and she stopped using her medication. It worked for her. And she was able to take time from work to go to yoga, without her kids, and was lucky to find an affordable yoga person who understood her concerns. Others aren’t so fortunate and many would find yoga of no benefit at all.

      Comedy movies for depression, on the other hand, shows a sad and total ignorance of depression.

  • NeedsImprovement

    Ugh, I have no children but I still get that crap. I was diagnosed with dysthymia when I was 18, and while my life has certainly sucked to a massive degree at times, the chemical imbalance is always there and always needing to be dealt with. I get #7 all the time from my own family, which gets incredibly frustrating. I get that they are coming from a place of concern, and their worries about me relying on medication come from the fact that my father was mistreating his depression for forty years with Xanax, Oxy, morphine, and then eventually the heroin that killed him this year. My grandma tried to kill herself, and my great grandma succeeded. That shit terrifies me, and if I can work with a responsible psychiatrist to keep myself as balanced as I am going to be with my new anxiety issues on top of everything, then I’m going to take my damn pills and try to live life.

    Sorry, that turned into a total rant/tl;dr, I just get tired of people not being able to comprehend what it is like to be incapable of making the choice to be calm and happy sometimes, though I know I can’t comprehend what they go through either. Best of wishes to you.

  • cassandy

    Okay, number 7 bothers me a lot, because it’s wrong. Speaking as someone with both physical and mental illness, and with a kid with physical illnesses, you DO actually get people saying things like, “oh, does he really need that brain surgery? He seems fine,” or “oh, we didn’t give him his seizure medication because we don’t think his epilepsy is that bad, and it’s too much medication for a child, anyway.”.
    And yes, we have been turned away from hospitals due to lack of beds before, or made to wait in general ER for hours and hours with breathing problems, or told by doctors its all in our heads until HOLY CRAP did you see that kid’s MRI? We’ve been told that our child is sick because we’re awful parents, and if he just tried hard enough, of course he wouldn’t be developmentally delayed or epileptic, and didn’t we know he seizes and turns blue just because he wants attention? or that if I just tried hard enough and ate just the right foods and did yoga my severe medical condition would magically get better? (spoiler alert: incurable!!).
    Yeah. Just…. Just stop using that for depression and mental illness. Because seriously, people are jackasses no matter what breed of illness you have.

    • Kay_Sue

      Doesn’t make it right to say to anyone, and doesn’t take away the author’s right to be frustrated.

      While my sister’s asthma was never questioned, all of our mental disorders have been. When my other sister had several seizures at the age of 7, no one questioned it. They don’t question my grandmother’s shingles, or my husband’s arthritis and TBI.

      Now, I could take my personal experience and say, “No one ever questions these things,” and consider your personal experience invalid, or I can accept that there are awful, insensitive people out there that are unable to appropriately respond to these situations. In a similar way, your experience does not invalidate the author’s.

      People are shitty, OP. I wish they were more understanding of you, and your child’s health issues, and I am truly sorry they have not been.

    • cassandy

      I think it’s more like the image Veronica posted…. We’ve had all of those things said to us, in the context of physical illness. Or ask anyone with lupus, fibromyalgia, ehlers danlos, or a rare disorder. It really doesn’t help The Cause (universal acceptance).
      Like yes, it sucks on both sides, but it doesn’t do anyone any favours to decide that just because an illness is physical that it’s magically accepted. A lot of mental illnesses are physical too, or have physical traits, a lot of physical illnesses have mental traits. To divide them up into “oh, I have it harder than you because mine’s physical or mine’s mental” – that sort of division really hurts acceptance of illness in the body as a whole and doesn’t really help anyone.

    • Kay_Sue

      But that’s not what’s happening. What’s happening is people sharing their personal experiences and recollections. Like I said, we’ve had tons of physical ailments in our family–some that you can see, some that you can’t. And yet, we’ve never encountered the experience you’ve had–except with our mental disorders. That’s it.

      Thus for us, these experiences are very, very real, just as yours is. And it is helpful to compare mental disorders to the physical, because for many people, they are still very misunderstood, whereas those same people would not judge someone with diabetes or heart disease or some such. It’s an analogy that reminds us that all disorders are real, all of them are difficult, and all of them need to be addressed with sensitivity.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      ” it doesn’t do anyone any favours to decide that just because an illness is physical that it’s magically accepted. ” I NEVER said that or insinuated that or felt that way. Ever. Where did I say that I had it worse than someone else? Why would anyone interpret my post this way? It’s hard for everyone. I certainly know this. I’m sure posts like this could be written about a myriad of different ailments or situations. Hell, we’ve posted tons of similar posts on different subjects. This was just my point of view coming from my situation, nothing more and nothing less.

    • cassandy

      No, you didn’t say that. Not at all. And I didn’t interpret your post that way, and I’m sorry. It is a great post.
      That one part, yes, I didn’t agree with it. It’s not you specifically that I was ranting about, either… I guess more the mentality that I’ve been seeing more and more in posts and articles and images about depression. But that’s only my opinion.
      And that really means that wasn’t fair of me to post a rant like that on your article. And I really didn’t realize that it would be so offensive. I’m sorry.

    • noelle 02

      I love it so much when reading comments and I come across one like yours. What you said was understandable and you didn’t truly owe an apology, but you also recognized that you offended the author and took accountability. Wow, I wish everyone followed your example! Also, my mom deals with both depression and fibromyalgia and I think she gets equal amounts of “it’s all in your head” for each. I think you are right on.

    • Blueathena623

      Wow, people are being very down-vote happy today. I understand what number 7 is saying and I understand what this poster is saying. Using diabetes and dialysis are generally the go-to physical issues that are used as examples, and it does kinda overly simplify the situation because it ignores all of the “hidden” physical ailments.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      My point was more to compare depression (or PPD, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, etc.) to other less visible diseases. I was in no way trying to negate anyone’s experiences. I hope no one read it that way.

    • Blueathena623

      Oh, and fuck people who don’t take epilepsy seriously.

    • Jallun-Keatres

      This. SO strongly.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      Sorry for your troubles. I was in no way trying to say that no one ever says this to people with other diseases ever. My point was that people will say this to people with less visible or accepted diseases (and I’m sure it even happens then). When you wrote “He seems fine,” those are the magic words here. If you SEEM fine then people assume that the problem is in your head. I think this goes for epilepsy too.

      Just an FYI, I actually have a mild form of epilepsy myself. Its NOTHING as severe as what your child is going through, but I am certainly not someone who disregards epilepsy as a serious illness.

    • cassandy

      I’m sorry for going off on such a rant on your article. And I really, honestly, didn’t mean to imply that you are someone who would say any of those things to people.
      I currently have antepartum depression, and I totally agree with the rest of the article and think it’s awesome.
      I’m sorry for not just saying that in the first place.

    • Lackadaisical

      I can understand and sympathise with that, it is awful when any kind of serious condition is dismissed as hypochondria or just not doing the right thing by people who seem as willfully ignorant as they are insensitive. Everyone’s experience is different, and in the case of my husband who has both epilepsy and depression I would say that people dismiss his depression and throw in a load of prejudice as they overplay the effects of epilepsy. I have known people assume that all epileptics are dangerous to other people and not to be trusted with kids as the epilepsy somehow turns them into crazy, murdering, maniacs who are incapable of functioning in society for example. That is obviously the wildest one I have heard from someone who hadn’t a clue about epilepsy. It wasn’t in reference to my husband but someone who worked at the building where a friend livrd. When she heard he was epileptic she panicked that he could try to harm her daughter and felt he shouldn’t be in his job. She was actually stunned when I pointed out that my own husband is epileptic yet has a degree, children and high pressure job and that the only danger was to the epileptic person. So in that case not dismissing the condition but I think a nastier reaction.

      As I said, I really do appreciate that everyone’s experirnces of living with a condition and the people who react to it are different.

  • Snarktopus

    You’d actually be surprised by the number of people who suggest I treat my type one (meaning that I produce no insulin in my body as opposed to type two, where the insulin you produce doesn’t work like it should) with diet and exercise and to stop taking my insulin because I clearly don’t need it and only rely on medication because I’m lazy.
    Honestly, the worst thing I’ve had said to me considering my depression was from my husband, before we had our child, and he asked me why he wasn’t enough to keep me happy. I seriously considered punching him in the face.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      Ugh, that is awful. I was in no way trying to negate anyone else’s experience. It baffles me that people can really be this shitty. I’m sorry for your experiences.

    • Snarktopus

      I didn’t think you were trying to negate it in any way. I’m just kind of saying that people can be giant douchebags on the whole when they don’t understand the issues you’re having. Looking at my post after reading some other comments, I do kind of come off as ‘oh, no you’re totally wrong cuz people do that with physical diseases, too and blah blah blah’ and that wasn’t my intention.

    • Simone

      I don’t think most people are being shitty, I think they’re uninformed about mental health. It’s a really new field in terms of human history – for centuries it was a spiritual problem, then a moral problem, and only recently has it been considered a scientific problem – like in the last fifty years of our ten thousand years as humans. People just don’t really know.

    • Rowan

      I just had that from my other half – “you say you’re happy with me so why has your medication dose gone up?”

    • Muggle

      I have depression as well and whenever I’m in a particularly shitty mood my fiance just has to ask if he makes me happy. AKSKLDLKASL:KD STOP THAT. YOU’RE MAKING ME FEEL SHITTIER.

  • Margie

    I’ve also been dealing with depression since I was about 12, or at least that’s when I had my first suicidal episode. I didn’t get help until later in my teens, and I was lucky to have a supportive family. There’s a lot of mental illness in my family, particularly some form of psychosis: my great grandmother was institutionalized for several years, my uncle committed suicide, my mom has schizophrenia.

    I was doing well off meds for a few years, until I had my kids and had some major changes in living situations. I recently went back to therapy and started on medication again. The worst for me before I got help was watching my kids play and my heart wanted to burst with love, but all I think of was how miserable I was and if they would be happier if I wasn’t around.

    I’m lucky that my husband realized what a mess I was and nudged me into getting help.

  • Jessie

    I was once told that I use my depression as a crutch to excuse why I never want to go anywhere or do anything anymore, like I’m seeing an opportunity to hang out with friends and going “sorry, can’t, depressed! :D” and then… I don’t know, throwing a party by myself to celebrate? I don’t even. I’ve been told that I SHOULD want to go out and do things cause “friends will make you happy,” as if that’s just a magic cure-all for everything. I’ve recently been informed by my husband that some of our friends think I hate them now because I never want to go to their parties or anything.
    People seriously just don’t get it. Depression has a nasty tendency to take everything that NORMALLY makes you happy and make it not work anymore. Nothing works anymore. I know I SHOULD WANT to hang out with my friends and play my video games and do all the other stuff that used to make me so happy, but because of my major depression I CAN’T WANT TO. The things that used to make me happy just… DON’T anymore. There’s no reasonable way to explain it. Pile that on top of the fact that I’m just naturally a rather extreme introvert, so parties and going out on the town just don’t appeal to me in the normal scheme of things, and you have a recipe for someone who just wants to stay in bed and never come out of their hidey hole.

    • Sara

      This so much! I have the problem where I want to please people so I go, but end up getting overwhelmed and it just makes everything so much worse.

    • Jessie

      I know that feeling, I’m about to do just that very thing on friday. My friends want me to come to the christmas party they throw every year, but I have never once attended due to work conflicts and just plain not WANTING to, and since I just so happen to have the night off this year there’s no reason for me NOT to show up. I don’t want to go, but due to the aforementioned fact that they think I hate them, I feel that I have to in order to please them. >_<

    • Bethany Ramos

      This is giving me a lot of insight because I have several friends that always, always blow off our parties. I grumble about them a lot, but now I’m seeing a possible different perspective.

    • Sara

      Every time I buck up and go to holiday parties I end up in charge of the little kids. Hi, I have auditory/sensory problems that mean Snookums has about 3 seconds before “babysitter” loses her cool!
      I always latch on to an older woman/man say in their sixties, because in my experience they just don’t care. They blurt out whatever and act as a buffer of sorts!

    • Jessie

      Oy, I’m glad my friends don’t have any kids (yet…), because I know that feeling too. Whenever I’m in a plac with children present, I always end up with them latched onto me for some bizarre reason. I don’t tolerate grown-up people very well, what makes people think I can tolerate their banshee crotch fruit?

    • Sara

      Banshee crotch fruit might be the greatest phrase I’ve ever heard! I’m 18 with a baby sister so people foist their children on me. And it’s always the super rude/bully types for me -.- you hit my baby sister and I’ll probably make you cry

    • Simone

      Have you read Hyperbole and a Half? It’s the simply most amazing site on depression in the known universe. It is so fucking funny and so damn sad. Have a look.

    • Jessie

      Yes I have, I love Allie Brosh so very much. I’ve actually used her posts specifically about depression to refer people to when they ask why I can’t just turn around and be happy again. A few people have gotten the idea, but there sadly remain many more who don’t.

    • MammaSweetpea

      “sorry, can’t, depressed! :D”
      I adore this….and I would use it if I thought it would work :(
      Imagine though, if it were that easy, like “I can’t I have the flu” or “I can’t I’ve got a test to study for”. Depression is clearly unacceptable. One day people will get it.

  • Sara

    I’m eighteen and not a mom, but the thing that made me the most upset is when this older woman came up to me at a store and made the comment, “I know your Mawmaw. I’ve been praying for you, but everyone says you’re not really depressed so maybe you don’t deserve it.” Hi I was having a good day an left the house and was feeling fan-freaking-tastic! Guess I’ll go feel guilty over the congregation of old women disapprovingly praying over me!

    • Roberta

      Because as we all know, there is a checklist on what qualifies you for being included in a person’s prayers. She sounds like an absolute bat.

    • Sara

      The woman’s an absolute beast. I told my grandma and my lovely sixty year old Mawmaw dunked her in the public pool in front of all her friends. Visuals like that make everything better!

    • Roberta

      High five to kick-ass Mawmaw!

    • Sara

      She’s only challenged in awesomeness by my mother (born Roberta!) who after hearing that a teacher upset me so badly that I couldn’t drive proceeded to hunt the man down and reduce him to a quivering mess with words alone.

  • FF4life

    My favorite is “There are people out there starving and suffering, you have no reason to be depressed.”

    • Rowan

      See also “you’ve still got all your arms and legs”. Er, thanks Mum.

    • SarahJesness

      What does she say to people who are missing limbs?

    • Rowan
    • Sara

      “At least you’re still breathing!” I have asthma so even that’s shoddy at best.

    • Allyson_et_al

      The thing is, I say this to myself all the time. What right do I have to be depressed when I am so much better off than so much of the world? Too bad guilt doesn’t cure depression and anxiety disorder.

  • smoinpour

    so sad that so many mothers are depressed in this day and age

  • GenevieveSchiffer

    In actual we must have always keep Happy and be keep in the Positive Mind .

    http://elitetest360-review.tumblr.com/

  • Miron Arnold

    People are stupid, I think you already know this. (And by ‘stupid’ I mean ‘generally uneducated’). As someone who has also dealt with this their whole life there were two issues here of concern to me. The first is the medications. For me they never did much good, but then there are also issues of it getting in drinking water etc… since it’s never cleaned from water. This might not sound like a big problem, but as more and more people are encouraged to take medications when they really aren’t needed, it means more of this stuff in our drinking water for no good reason, and I, personally, find this idea incredibly scary as the metabolites from these medications can go on to effect other people simply because they had a glass of water. Besides the fact that most medications really aren’t proven to help (gotta look for independent research for this part), and can cause much worse problems in the end, making their use not just unnecessary, but bad. I really suggest you learn about them and how they work. Most people that really take the effort to do this will never want to take them again. If they work for you though, great, but make sure it’s not a placebo effect that has you taking brain-changing chemicals everyday.

    The second thing was the part about passing these genes down to the next generation. I do believe that anyone with big enough problems should greatly consider bringing another human life into the world. Most people are not as controlled as you, and similar predicaments can turn out much worse. Assuming your child will handle it just as well (if they inherit it) is assuming a lot. On the other hand, if your problems came from traumatic experiences, I suppose this point is moot anyway.

    Anyone can be a great mom, and you sound like you probably are one. But be careful about what you take, and what doctors tell you. And above all, do your own research because most of the really important/scary stuff will never be told to you by your doctors.

    • Simone

      It’s believed, that people can inherit a predisposition towards mental health problems. Those are a lot of conditional terms there. In addition, most professionals tend to subscribe to the threshold concept, wherein a predisposition can exist but remain dormant and therefore harmless unless serious life traumas occur and are not dealt with appropriately.

      So mentioning your belief that people with health problems should greatly consider bringing another life into the world is kind of … not a useful thing to say.

    • Miron Arnold

      Sure about that? When dealing with things like bipolar, schizophrenia, or mood disorders in general, it most definitely has a genetic link. And yes, a person dealing with such intense, and debilitating issues, should consider what they’ll do by passing along the gene (not that it’ll necessarily happen, of course). When dealing with more stress/anxiety related issues it often does require a stimulus, but not always. My point was that a person should consider these things if the problems relating to their illness have been bad enough. And I don’t think it’s ‘not useful to say’ to encourage people to be smarter, and more forward thinking, in their family planning. It’s not exactly like we, as a population, have been super awesome about this. Like I said, I too have had similar issues my whole life, so I’m not saying it as an outsider, I’m saying it as someone who’s in the trenches. Someone who has to consider these things as well. It’s actually a very useful sentiment, whether you personally agree with it or not.

    • Tinyfaeri

      Totally. Who needs doctors when you have Google and Wikipedia, amirite?

    • scooby23

      And don’t forget about http://www.donttrustdoctorstheyrejustthereformoneyz.net! That’s the best source for all “information.”

  • Rowan

    Aaaargh, yes! I had a massive discussion* on Twitter recently with some bloke who thought that people with mental illness bring it on themselves because of poor life choices, and that anything can be overcome with enough willpower. So I just have to WANT to be better. WHY THE HELL DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT??!!

    *argument in which I only refrained from using every swearword I know because it’s a public account

    • Muggle

      Some right-wing Jesus freak actually had the gall to say that veterans’ PTSD was caused not by traumatic experiences in combat, but by their own “un-Biblical” actions and unbelief– but it’s okay, all they need to overcome it is church every Sunday and prayer.

      And people wonder why I don’t trust churches with my mental health.

  • Muggle

    Regarding #3: I’ve had people tell me my depression and anxiety were a result of me being an atheist. I’ve also been told to “just pray” and start going to church again (said by someone who refuses to go to church herself because 1. churches are full of drama queens 2. sexism and 3. she doesn’t believe church should be a requirement for being a Christian anyway) and I’ll feel better.

    Uh, no. Given that we went to the same churches growing up, I get where she’s coming from with her not wanting to set foot inside a church ever again, but my lack of faith is not responsible for my mental illness (and vice versa),

    I’m not totally against going back to religion, or anyone using prayer and worship as a method of coping with mental illness, I’m just pissed that people are so quick to blame us atheists for problems outside our control instead of trying to actually help.

  • Pingback: Mom Depression - According To The Internet, I Have It

  • Alicia Kiner

    I don’t have depression or any other mental health disorder so to speak, but I have severe chronic migraines. I’m constantly getting people telling me different things to try and do, and no one truly believes how bad they are. So I think I get where you all are coming from. Because it’s not something people can see, it’s out of their comprehension.

    • SusannahJoy

      I was actually just talking about that with my mom last week. We both get bad migraines, and it never ceases to amaze us how many people, doctors included, try to tell us to just take an aspirin. Ugh! Or diet. That’s even after I tell them that mine are caused by my period and storms (I get that a lot of people don’t know that headaches associated with weather changes are one of the more common symptoms of migraine, but shouldn’t the doc know that?). I also can’t count the number of people who told me to just eat a sandwich while in treatment for an eating disorder. People are stupid.

    • Sara

      I think it’s easier for people that don’t have an obvious physical thing to empathize with people with mental things. I didn’t know that weather messed with migraines, but I knew they screwed with arthritis and other rheumatological issues! I wonder if there’s a connection?

    • Alicia Kiner

      OMG, the weather changes are awful. January and August are the WORST for my head. I just recently found out I have endometriosis, and they THINK my migraines could be linked to that, but since I’m only 32, I’m not willing to have them yank my ovaries. I had several doctors tell me to take aspirin and drink a coffee, cause that would cure my migraines. I was like, uh, dude, the rx migraine meds don’t work, why would THAT?!

  • scooby23

    I hate when people say “OMG I cured my depression/anxiety/OCD/ADHD/other mental health problems by blah blah blah raw kale blah blah blah no vaccinations blah blah building a temple of love”
    Yes, because everyone fits into a cookie cutter when it comes to mental illness -_-

    • Simone

      Some alternatives do work really well – but if people want to learn about those alternatives for themselves, there’s no dearth of information. One size does not fit all.

    • scooby23

      Yup, exactly.

  • Ana

    My own mother is the least empathetic person when it comes to my depression, which I’ve been diagnosed with 15+ years. She loves me tremendously, but she just doesn’t understand at all. If depression comes up in conversation she always pulls out one of these gems – “Everyone feels blue some days” and “Why don’t you just try thinking happy thoughts?”. So frustrating!

    Oh, and she and my sister brought up many times how they were concerned that my anti-depressant was going to harm my fetus, even though I told them over and over again that it wasn’t that kind of anti-depressant and that multiple doctors told me it was safe.

    • Rowan

      My mother is the queen of “You’ll feel better if you get out and get some exercise” and “everyone seems to have stress / depression these days” (in tones of “it’s the new In Thing”). She’s also a dab hand at “no wonder you’re down – your house is such a mess”. Sigh.

  • manderspanders

    My son is 5 months old. Major depression runs on my mom’s side of the family. I have never been diagnosed with depression, but have had symptoms off and on for 20+ years. I have been on medication once – prescribed under the table by a family friend, to help me cope with a bad situation (celexa for 6 weeks).
    I have definitely been experiencing PPD. It is unlike any depression I have ever experienced before. Besides this comment, only one friend and my husband know this. It is truly scary. We made it to 6 weeks post partum, and I thought I’d be alright as I didn’t feel too bad – just the normal lack of sleep, busyness, adjustments, etc. But around 8 or 9 weeks – when my hair started shedding for the first time – my mood nose dived. I felt alone, overwhelmed, worthless, incapable of happiness, devoid of emotion on a good day, and extreme sadness on the worst. I truly believed my son would be better off without me and told my husband to find him a new mother who could do better…I thought my husband would be happier and my baby didn’t need *me.* I couldn’t explain it to my husband…he just couldn’t get it. All I could tell him was the pain in my head was too much bear – he suggested I take some ibuprofen… I just wanted to shake him, because he just didn’t understand. I couldn’t, and still can’t, really verbalize the experience in a meaningful manner; there were so many days that I felt separate from my body. Emotional pain, in my experience, is the worst…there is so little that can be done, everything is kind of a crap shoot.
    I personally have no doubt that PPD is linked to hormones… when my started, and the correlation to my hair beginning to shed again, is no doubt related to a postpartum hormone shift. Things are better now – I haven’t done anything but try to survive each day, and things are just better… which I have to assume is due to hormones stabilizing.

    I’ve tried to cover it up; but I felt I was starting slip in maintaining an image to the outside world. It is true that I avoid things that made me happy… but how much of that is due to PPD or to the demands of a baby, at this point I don’t know that I could differentiate. If anyone I knew ever said anything to me like what was described in this article, I don’t know what I would do – it probably wouldn’t be pretty. I doubt I could be polite. When you’re living in your own mental hell, being nice to others who think they need to comment is the last thing to really give a damn about.

    At any rate, I feel better now. I just wish there was more support overall for women with PPD.

    • neighbor57

      Don’t try too much to cover it up. Are there other moms you can reach out to tentatively? The main reason I got help is that I overheard two moms I thought the world of discussing the medication they took. That made it “safe” for me to get help.
      Now I’m pretty open about needing help, but sometimes people are still just plain rude.

  • neighbor57

    Thanks.

  • gothicgaelicgirl

    had some gems over the years.
    I self harmed from the age of 11 until 20, so I do have quite a few scars.
    Funnily enough I have a very big one that is raised and purple on my wrist that was NOT caused by that, it is the result of a bad car crash.
    I had a woman lean in to me on the bus and say Jesus love, there’s better things to do than that.
    I just said it’s from a car crash (WHICH IT WAS!!) and she looked at me with pity, shook her head and said- Suicide is no way to go.

    I get the concern, but seriously, butt out!

    Or as a recovering bulimic, I told my classmates, not for any reason other than to explain why I had been absent so much (we had a group called Chatterbox in my school, student support network)
    One nasty cow said- Bulimia? Wouldn’t think it, size of her, bet she’ll say she’s depressed too.

    She got suspended.