Living with major depressive disorder (MDD) can feel very isolating at times. You may think you have nobody to turn to because nobody understands. Or, you may feel lost and unsure of how to find the road to healing.

MDD is unpredictable, but it’s manageable. Below are six inspiring people living with MDD. Reading their stories can help you to feel less alone and guide you on your journey.

My depressive episodes can come without warning. They make me unhappy, despondent, and unable to get out of bed. I feel like a shell of my usual self. Some people think I’m lazy, some think I live in a world of self-pity, and others think I’m making it up. But I’m not.

You have to be patient and not allow the pressure to be “normal” get to you. Your version of normal may be different from someone else’s, and that’s OK. It’s frustrating, but don’t blame yourself if the depression comes back unexpectedly.

Little by little, I’m learning to be OK with who I am. Part of the reason I started Black Girl, Lost Keys was to give a voice to the frustration I felt and help others feel less isolated.

Even though I manage it with medication, living with MDD is challenging. I experience flare-ups that seem to come out of nowhere. The negative voice in my head can be extremely loud. If I give into negative thoughts, I’ll fall into darkness.

I surround myself with as much positivity as I can. When I need a mental health day, I’ll meditate or go out and get some sun. On challenging days, I’ll immerse myself in my favorite trilogy, “The Lord of the Rings,” to distract myself from the nonsense going on in my head.

You are not your mental illness. When I was first diagnosed, I didn’t think I was worthy of love or had any value. Now I know that I am, and that’s a beautiful thing.

Primary care physicians (PCPs) are often the first providers people with depression consult, as common symptoms include feeling listless or poor sleep. Physicians can check for any underlying physical problems that may be causing symptoms. Also, a PCP will likely do a basic depression screening to assess severity (mild, moderate, or severe), while also assessing risk of suicide.

PCPs may prescribe antidepressant medication and can refer you to a depression specialist for further care.

Check out our Good Appointment Guide for tips on getting the most out of your doctor next visit.

Psychiatrists are licensed physicians who treat mental health conditions. Once they finish medical school, they have 4 more years of training in psychiatry. They specialize in mental health and emotional problems. A psychiatrist’s special training combined with the ability to prescribe medications can sometimes help when other methods haven’t. Some psychiatrists also do psychotherapy. They can help you talk through emotional issues that may be contributing to your condition. When used in combination with medication, talk therapy has proven very effective in treating clinical depression.

Your doctor may be able to provide a referral to a specialist in your area. Check out our Good Appointment Guide for tips on getting the most out of your next doctor visit.

Psychologists are professionals who have a doctorate degree in most states. In some states they can write prescriptions, but they mainly provide psychotherapy, or “talk therapy.” They have advanced training in the science of behavior, thoughts, and emotions. They go through internships to learn how to perform advanced psychological testing and therapy. Similar to physicians, they must be licensed in their state of practice in order to provide care. They help patients learn how to cope with mental health problems and day-to-day life issues.

Your doctor may be able to provide a referral to a specialist in your area. Check out our Good Appointment Guide for tips on getting the most out of your next doctor visit.

Social workers need a master’s degree in order to provide talk therapy. They are trained to help individuals with emotional situations. Although social workers have less schooling than psychologists, they can be just as helpful.

When people are having thoughts of harming themselves, suicide prevention hotlines can make all the difference. Crisis hotlines help millions of people every year and offer the option to speak with trained volunteers and counselors, either via phone or text message.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of more than 150 local crisis centers. It offers free and confidential emotional support around the clock to those experiencing a suicidal crisis. You can contact the organization with the following ways:

Phone: 800-273-8255 (24/7)

Online chat: (24/7)


There is no quick remedy for MDD. Treating MDD effectively requires medication, therapy, and making smart lifestyle choices. For me, it means keeping my closet clean, playing crossword puzzles, and being open to new hobbies and practices. I try to be proactive by having a healthy routine.

Still, there are days I’m unable to fight. When I’m feeling weak and worthless, I lean on those closest to me. Their love and support is my secret weapon when I can’t fight for myself.

Living with depression feels like I’m in solitary confinement, with loudspeakers telling me I’m worthless all day long. The only time the speakers turn off is when I’m sleeping. The only way I can sleep is with medication.

On the toughest days, I try to remind myself that a path to wellness is out there, I just haven’t found it yet. Putting what I’m feeling into words helps me feel grounded. Personally, I enjoy blogging or podcasting.

When I was first diagnosed with MDD, I thought I would have to carry the burden alone. How could anyone ever love me? Now, I’m amazed by the size of the mental health community. There are so many people who want to help you. I wish I had found them earlier.

Sometimes I’ll go a few months feeling absolutely fine. I’ll start to question if my illness is even real. And when I least expect it, my depression comes creeping back. Stress is a major trigger for me. When I’m very busy at work, I’ll fall into a sad mood. Since I run my own business, it can be very difficult to manage.

I’ve spent the last few years practicing self-love. When your living with depression, self-love takes a lot of commitment. For me, getting through the hard days means forcing myself to slow down, rest up, eat well, and go for a walk outside.

Managing MDD is an ongoing process. You have to accept your condition so that you can learn how to adapt to it and feel well. Talking about your depression also helps. Sharing my feelings on social media and in blog posts has been such a helpful outlet for me.

It’s like I’ve had this dark cloud over my head for nearly half my life. Some days, it’s a white, puffy cloud in a bright blue sky. Other days, the cloud is a very dark gray. When I was first diagnosed with MDD, I had no idea what I was facing. I think that if I had tracked my mood and kept a gratitude journal in the beginning, it would have made a big difference. I keep a bullet journal now, and when I read it over, I see how awesome my life is.

Living with depression is not easy. I work hard to take care of myself and surround myself with love, creativity, and laughter. My depression can show up without a warning. How I respond to it makes a world of difference. When I start to spiral down, it’s up to me to turn things around.

I am very blessed. I have the most loving family and friends a girl could ask for. Depression is not going to stop me from living and enjoying my life!