When People Mistake Depression for Laziness

As difficult as life can be, the average person gets up daily, goes to work, or takes care of their children without a thought. It all comes naturally and is routine. But that is not the case for everyone. Many who suffer from depression can’t get out of bed, let alone do everyday tasks. Yet, how many individuals look down upon those who cannot work or even run errands due to their mental health? They may consider them lazy, unmotivated, or exaggerating. Meanwhile, those with depression desperately yearn to do these things without struggling. So, let’s discuss the topic further.

The Invisible Disability

When we hear about someone living with multiple sclerosis, although we can’t see it, we tend to believe it, especially if they’re in a wheelchair. Or we might know someone with heart disease who looks healthy, but we still know they have it. The same goes for mental illness. Yet, people question its validity all the time.

Mental illness is a physical condition that manifests in the brain. So, although we may not always be able to detect someone with a mental illness, it does not mean it doesn’t exist. It just happens to be an invisible disability.

Often, we miss the signs of suicide in others because they hide it very well. So, for instance, that person appeared fine or not depressed to others. Yet, they hid how they genuinely felt by appearing happy and functional. Thus, mental illness doesn’t have a specific look, nor does it have to appear the same as in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

There Is No Comparison

It’s not to say that people aren’t compassionate. Yet, there is still ignorance when it comes to mental illness. Not to mention that some people can be very judgemental, including friends and family members. Comments like, “I work, so why can’t you?” Or, “I have all these commitments, yet you can’t do one thing.” Then there’s, “I’m depressed and can still function.” “So, what’s your excuse?” Still, no two people are alike. Therefore, what comes easy for one may not be for someone else.

We can’t live inside another person’s mind to comprehend what they’re experiencing. And none of us has the same brain chemistry. Therefore, it’s unfair to judge or compare ourselves to others. Not to mention nothing is worse than being picked on for a condition one never asked for.

Mental Illness is Not a Weakness

Imagine having the heaviest set of weights on your shoulders and trying to find the strength to do an overhead press. Well, the same is true for mental illness. It can take excessive strength to carry and fight through that burden daily.

Here’s another way to look at it. Visualise yourself in knee-deep mud and how much work it will take to lift your legs. Again, the same is true for mental illness.

Many have compared their depression to the feeling of their legs stuck in mud, unable to move.

Mental Illness Has No Biases

No matter one’s gender, race, socioeconomic status, etc., anyone can live with a mental health condition. It can be you, your child, your partner, your friend, or colleague. So, it doesn’t mean the person’s tainted, weak, or lazy. It means they have a condition that needs treatment. Therefore, proper support and treatment can make all the difference for them.

If you are looking for support, one such place is Barty’s Adventures, where they hold special events and adventures to help men feel better about themselves by keeping active, thus improving mental health. Barty – We Are A Mental Health Initiative

What People With Mental Illness Need From Others

Like anyone else, people with mental illness need someone who will love and support them. They are just as human and have feelings. In fact, most people with mental health conditions are the most compassionate souls because they know what it’s like to suffer and don’t want others to experience the same.

When feeling mentally unwell, people want to know that someone believes in them and will pick them up when they fall. Of course, that doesn’t mean taking on everything by yourself, either. But it’s about showing them you care, as nothing is more isolating than living with a mental illness. Plus, it’s about supporting and helping them achieve wellness.

In addition, educating yourself, encouraging them to seek help, and accompanying them, if they desire, to appointments can be your greatest gift to them. Think about how frightening it would be to receive a cancer diagnosis with no one there by your side. Well, seeing a therapist for the first time or receiving a mental health diagnosis can be scary for many.

Mental Illness Is Treatable

There are several mental health conditions – e.g., mood disorders, personality disorders, anxiety disorders, major depressive disorder, etc. Some diagnoses are more treatable than others, and some are more extreme. For instance, an individual with resistant depression may need more extensive treatment beyond talk therapy.

Individuals can also have one or more mental health conditions. For example, an individual with bipolar disorder might also have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Or an individual with borderline personality disorder might also have a substance use disorder. So, depending on the individual’s diagnosis, treatment can be challenging, as everyone is unique. Still, that doesn’t mean it’s not treatable.

With the proper help, most people with mental health conditions can function just as well as someone without one. They can raise a family, run a company, or even lead a government. So, never underestimate their resiliency.

Why Not Try Online Therapy?

Hopefully, these points could give some comfort, but sometimes just reading quotes isn’t enough. Online therapy can be a great option if you or a loved one is looking for more support.

Therapy through BetterHelp.com/Barty can be more affordable than traditional therapy and allows many options to communicate with your therapist from the comfort of your home. Most importantly, remember that it is okay not to be okay, and you are no less of a human for feeling your emotions and being vulnerable.

To receive 25% off your first month, head to BetterHelp.com/Barty

Feel free to drop by if you’d like to chat and just say, ‘Hey Barty,’ in strict confidence, and you can be anonymous if you wish. Or do not hesitate to leave a question in the comments section below at any time.



Sandy Glover


Sandy is the resident mental health professional at Barty. She previously worked as a therapist, earning a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's in counselling. Sandy has transitioned to becoming a peer presenter at several mental health settings through NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). Her passion for mental health is evident in her writing as a subject matter expert who draws from personal experience, professional expertise, and education to help eliminate stigma.

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