The Sting of Being Accused of Faking Your Depression
Depression has a profound affect on your life, but adding in accusations that you're making it up can leave a lasting sting.
How many times has someone implied or even all-out accused you of “faking” or “exaggerating” your depression? Stings, doesn’t it? I can sympathise because years later being accused of faking still feels like a slap in the face.
As I have gotten older and learned more about depression, I can see why someone might have trouble understanding depression and believing in an illness that they can’t actually see. Sure, they see the crying and the changes in behavior, but without a big fat tumor or projectile vomiting; it can seem less-than-serious. Seeing is believing, or so they say, so without actually being able to see the condition, many can find it hard to believe it’s really there at all. Infuriating, but a sad reality that we often have to deal with.
In my case it was my father who didn’t believe there was anything wrong with me. After endless doctor and hospital visits for hyperventilating and panic attacks along with all kinds of other symptoms, my dad made it clear that he felt it was all “just in my head” when the doctors continued to give me a clean bill of health. And after I was diagnosed with depression and started treatment, my dad all-out accused me of faking because I liked the attention that I was getting from my mother. What bothered me the most about the accusation wasn’t just that he thought that I was even capable of such a thing, but that he thought the attention I was getting was something that I could actually want!
Oh yeah, I loved having my mother fear leaving me alone for even just one minute because she was worried I might hurt myself or having to be passed off on my friends and even my younger brother when she needed to step out because I wasn’t to be left alone. If I sound bitter it’s because I am. Like I said, it still stings. He just couldn’t grasp the idea that one could be depressed and unable to snap out of it so the only explanation for him was that I was doing it on purpose and with some sort of ulterior motive.
Years later, before doctors figured out that my father’s symptoms were the result of a brain tumor, he too suffered from a loss of interest in the things he loved, crying spells, and depression that he just couldn’t seem to control. It was then that my father apologized—in his own macho way, of course—for not believing me. It was a long time coming but meant the world to me just the same.
Suck as it might to have someone not believe that what you’re feeling is real, I have learned that it’s important to remember that their feelings come from place of fear and concern as well as a lack of knowledge. If they’re willing, then direct them to a site like this one or some other resource on depression and if they’re not willing, then do your best to brush it off and focus on getting better. It’s all you can do.
To learn more about depression, click here.