How to say someone has depression?

This is something I’ve been trying to parse out for the last week or two: the semantics of how you speak about people who deal with depression (or whatever other illness).

I can pretty comfortably say that I have depression. As in, I’m pretty confident that it’s a hereditary illness that I’ll be dealing with for the rest of my life. (That’s not to say that it won’t be totally manageable at some point, but I’m pretty sure it’ll be present. We’ll see.) So, I have it, probably permanently.

But not everybody has depression. Some people have life events which cause them to experience depressive symptoms for a short time, and some of those people can take meds for a while and wean off and get better.

When I talk about depression, I want to include all the people who experience it. But I also don’t want to contribute to harmful attitudes by using phrases like ‘suffers from’. I think that phrasing is way too pointed and exclusionary. Not everyone who experiences depression is suffering from it, at any point or constantly. I feel like it also implies weakness, to state generally that people with depression are suffering from it.

‘Living with’ depression is probably a good one. ‘Dealing with’ is okay. I guess it isn’t the most difficult of things to phrase, but I slip and say ‘suffering from’ sometimes. It seems like there are one or two more that I dislike but can’t call to mind.

Random blurby microblogs!

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2 thoughts on “How to say someone has depression?

  1. I don't really have a problem with the phrasing "suffering from" because the point of depression is that it sucks. You may not be immediately suffering from it, but you wouldn't feel the need to label it if it didn't affect your life. That's just me though, I know others don't like it.

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