If you have a friend or family member who experiences depression, here's what you need to know, according to 10 girls who have been there.

1. There's no easy fix.

"I wish that people understood that depression is a chronic illness, something like asthma. Sometimes medication helps, and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it takes a long time to find that medication, and when you do, it doesn't fix everything right away. Learning to manage depression can take a long time, and it's not as simple as just feeling better one day." — Camryn, 17

2. Depression is deeper than just feeling sad.

"I wish people knew that I am not just sad and it's not something that goes away. I have an illness and you can't just fix me." — Hanna, 17

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3. You can't just snap out of it.

"I don't spend time thinking, 'Oh, poor me, my life is so hard.' Instead, I worry too much about the smallest details and circumstances, and I constantly overthink. I can literally overthink myself into a bad mood or convince myself of something that isn't true. Yes, it's all in my head, but I do not have control over it." — Aly, 20

4. Feeling depressed can make it harder to socialize.

"Some people don't understand that this feeling isn't a choice or something I feel because I'm lazy or rude. When I back out of our plans at the last minute or I don't message you back for hours, it's probably because I get this overwhelming feeling of sadness and worthlessness. It makes me feel like I can't handle going out or even texting my best friends back." — Melanie, 20

5. It's OK to take time away from school to deal with depression.

"I'm taking time off from school because of mental health issues (mainly depression). Seeking help is so important, and taking time off is one way to do that." — Theresa, 19

6. The best thing you can do is "listen and be there."

"I wish people understood that although I struggle with depression, it does not define me. I wish they understood that they don't need to try to 'fix' us or 'heal' us. The best thing they can do is listen and be there." — Angela, 20

7. No two days with depression are exactly alike.

"Many people don't realize that depression isn't always constant. For me, it comes in waves. One week, I may be feeling really well and confident, and the next week, I can't even motivate myself to get out of bed. I may post pictures at events with friends smiling, but under that I'm struggling. Depression isn't just a constant sadness; it's anger, irritability, and restlessness. I take it out on myself, on my friends, on my family and I feel like I've lost control of myself at times." — Simone, 19

8. Everyday tasks can become twice as hard.

"I wish people understood the effort it takes to leave the house when you have depression. The thought of going out or talking to people scares the crap out of me. I just want to stay in my room with the door shut. I can laugh and smile, but on the inside, it feels like a charade." — Noelle, 23

9. A support system is crucial to getting better.

"I've been battling depression for the past five years, but no one in my family has believed me. I've come to realize that I have to fight this without my family. If you can relate, turn to a close friend, turn to a professional — just turn to someone. You don't have to walk through this alone." — Madison, 17

10. Just because you've seen "13 Reasons Why" doesn't mean you understand depression.

"What I want people to know about depression is that you are not just sad all the time like how they portray it in the movies. You feel empty and alone. You feel like you're trapped in this tiny box with no escape." — Jess, 21

11. With the proper help and treatment, you can get to a better place.

"People don't really see that depression can lead to dangerous situations. I faked smiles so people saw I was okay on the outside, but deep down inside, I felt numb and empty. It led to me not eating or drinking water, isolating myself from everyone, and having suicidal thoughts. I couldn't even leave my room. I still struggle with depression to this day, but going to counseling really helped me. Today, I'm about to finish my second year of college and I've published two poetry books." — Denise, 19

If you're struggling with depression, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, stress, anxiety, grief, eating disorders, abuse, bullying, or any other mental health issue, text a trained crisis counselor 24/7 at the Crisis Text Line: 741741.

Headshot of Hannah Orenstein
Hannah Orenstein

Hannah Orenstein is the author of several novels, including Meant to Be Mine (out June 7, 2022), Head Over Heels, Love at First Like, and Playing with Matches. She's also the Deputy Editor of Dating at Elite Daily. She lives in Brooklyn.