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21 Depression Memes that May Make You Feel a Little Better

Need a good laugh? (That's a rhetorical question, of course you do.) These memes about depression might help.

Understanding depression

Depression is one of the most common conditions in the United States, with an estimated one in three people experiencing it at some point during their lives.

And perhaps one of the most frustrating parts of the mental health condition is that there is no “cure.” (Although there are many treatments that can help.) Some people have a relatively brief experience with depression while others may spend their lives dealing with recurrent episodes or ongoing issues with depression.

There are different types of depression, ranging from major depressive disorder to dysthymia, a low-grade depression that’s on the rise.

Regardless of how long your depression lasts, learning how to manage it is crucial. Sometimes, a good laugh can help. (Not sure if you have depression? Here are the telltale signs of depression.)

Businessman laughing with a laptop in officeLuis Alvarez/Getty Images

Coping with depression through humor

Exercise, a healthy diet, adequate sleep, therapy, and medication are all important treatments for depression. But humor can also help you deal with the day-to-day darkness. And one way to laugh is with depression memes. (For more ideas, check out how these people successfully manage depression.)

But aren’t depression memes… depressing? For people who are diagnosed with depression, spending time looking at depression memes—even those that may feel “dark” to others—may be a good thing, according to a 2020 study published in Nature. People with depression found the depression memes to be funny, relatable, shareable, and most importantly, mood-boosting, far more than those who weren’t depressed.

Depression memes may be beneficial for a number of reasons, explains lead author Jennie Drabble, PhD, senior lecturer in psychology at Sheffield Hallam University in Sheffield, England. They may help people see their situation in a humorous light and feel more connected to other people with depression, as well as act as an outlet for dealing with their feelings, she says.

So with that, here are some of the best depression-related memes on the internet that you or someone you know may relate to.

anxiety tweet memevia imgur.com

 

Wait, that’s not what I meant at all

It can be a real challenge for people with depression to turn a negative thought into a positive one—and yet it’s ridiculously easy for our brains to turn a positive thought into a negative one. This may be why cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)—a type of therapy that focuses on discovering and changing negative thoughts—is such a powerful tool in fighting depression. For people with treatment-resistant depression, those who received CBT plus medication were three times more likely to get at least a 50 percent improvement in their symptoms than those who received only antidepressants, according to a randomized, controlled trial published in 2012 in The Lancet.

It’s a depression party!

Sometimes when two types of depression really love each other… a new type of depression is born. Welcome, Covid-19 pandemic-induced depression. The global pandemic has been incredibly harmful to a lot of people’s mental health, especially those who were already vulnerable to depression.

They really do hit like a hurricane sometimes

Other times it’s more like a tropical depression. Looking at your mental illness as something separate from you, with a beginning and an end, may help you better weather the intense part of the storm. Plus, you can always secretly name it after your bad boss or frustrating mother-in-law, giving you another thing to smile about. In the meantime, make yourself more resilient to negativity by avoiding these everyday habits that up your risk for depression.

divecomics memevia divecomics.tumblr.com

They’re not wrong?

Instant noodles are the ultimate depression food, followed closely by peanut butter straight from the jar and candy you find in your bed. In a pinch, food can help you feel better for a little bit—they don’t call it comfort food for nothing. But don’t turn to emotional eating as a long-term strategy for dealing with depression. And definitely don’t use alcohol; drinking can make you more depressed.

It’s not a flaw, it’s a feature

Living with depression is an actual skill. Learning to draw on inner strength during difficult times was one thing centenarians cited as helping them live such a long life. (Here’s what you and your spouse need to know about marrying someone with depression.)

Everyone’s an expert

People who’ve never had depression seem to have lots of advice about how to deal with it. And while they’re not always wrong—healthy eating, exercise, sunshine, and meditation have all been shown in research to help with depression symptoms—it’s not helpful advice if it’s unsolicited. (Find out if you’re experiencing clinical depression or everyday sadness.)

This should extend to all regrettable actions while depressed

Sometimes a little retail therapy really does help the pain go away… that is, until the credit card bill comes. Compulsive shopping isn’t the only unhealthy habit depressed people may indulge in to try and manage their feelings. This is why talking to your doctor and coming up with a treatment plan is so important. Depression rarely goes away on its own. (When it comes to diet, these foods may worsen depression.)

Depression always seems to trump everything else

Sometimes it feels like things are going well and you’re making good progress and then the depression hulk shows up to smash some stuff. It’s especially frustrating when you feel like you’re doing every “right” and still aren’t feeling any better. But remember, it’s worth it to keep trying, after all, you’ve already made it through 100 percent of your bad days. The next time you’re feeling particularly down, check out these depression quotes that capture exactly what you’re feeling and will help you feel less alone.

Any progress is good progress

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#depressionmemesarethebest

A post shared by neely’s meme collection (@memeroony) on

Whether you live in an apartment or in a house, every little effort to push back against your depression and take care of yourself is worth celebrating. Showering, cooking a meal, calling a friend, taking a walk—all of those little things add up over time and make a difference. Self-care is so important when you are depressed and you are worth it.

Keep fighting the good fight

Depression is a part of you but it isn’t who you are. Use it to define yourself as a fighter and a survivor. The words you use to talk about yourself are more important than you think and can give you and others clues on how to help you. And if it feels like “struggle” is the only word that really works, it may be time to check in with your doctor or therapist about getting treatment or adjusting your existing treatment plan. (Here’s what to do if you feel like your antidepressants aren’t working.)

depression memevia reddit.com

Best use of the “report post” function ever

It’s hard to know what to say to people who can see the sadness in your face but don’t know how to help. However, dropping the “everything’s fine” mask and letting others in is an important first step to feeling better. Feeling lonely and isolated is a big risk for depression. (Not sure how to reach out? Try these totally doable tricks to not feeling lonely.)

Sometimes depression does gives you an edge

Following social distancing guidelines and being in quarantine has been tough for a lot of people, but for those with depression, it may feel like official permission to carry on business as usual. But while it’s OK to laugh at how society is finally telling you to do what comes naturally, don’t give in to the temptation to avoid people completely. (You need others to feel happy and be healthy.)

Of course, the answer is obvious

This is like telling someone with a broken leg to stop limping and it wouldn’t hurt so much. Depression is a symptom of an underlying issue, whether it’s a chemical imbalance in your brain,  being stuck in a bad situation, or all of the above. Like, if just thinking your way out of a funk was a viable option, no one would have depression. However, people who say this usually aren’t trying to be mean but rather they don’t understand that mental illnesses are real illnesses too. (What everyone should know about what not to say to someone with depression.)

depression memevia reddit.com

What the world thinks depression is versus what it really is

It’s hard to understand what depression really means if you’ve never experienced it. It’s like saying “I’m so OCD!” because you like a tidy kitchen. Depression isn’t all sob-fests and days in bed. You can’t tell how someone is feeling simply from looking at them or from an off-hand answer to a casual question. Sometimes it’s the people who appear the most together on the outside, who actually have high-functioning depression.

Sometimes you are your own worst enemy

It’s natural to want to self-medicate your bad feelings but some ways are healthier than others. For instance, did you know working out just one hour per week helps reduce depressive symptoms? Yes, getting up and going for a walk may feel like gearing up for Mt. Everest. But it’s worth it to keep trying.

depression memevia reddit.com

You can’t compare pain

There’s this idea that you aren’t allowed to feel sad or down if your life is “good” or if anyone else has it worse than you. Of course, logically that would mean only one person on the planet would get to be sad at a time, which is nonsense. The truth is that depression hurts, no matter what. You’re allowed to feel your own feelings with no judgment. (Read these positive quotes for a mood boost.)

Pretending is exhausting

Sometimes “fake it ’till you make it” is good advice and you can talk yourself out of a bad mood but the advice to “put on a happy face” usually hits differently for people with depression. Those with depression will do it, but eventually, they have to take it off because it never stops feeling like a mask. (Know someone with depression? Here’s how to be a good listener.)

Antidepressants can be a game changer

When you’ve felt bad for a long time, it can almost feel like a trick when you feel good again. However, just like depression can have a chemical basis, so can treating it. Serotonin is one neurotransmitter associated with a good mood and some antidepressants work by boosting it. Unfortunately, there’s still a stigma against taking medication for mental illness but as one serotonin-challenged person to another, they can really help and we all need to be talking about our brain chemicals more. (This is just one of the depression facts psychologists wish you knew.)

depression memevia reddit.com

Depression is so much more than feeling sad

This meme rings true because while the stereotype of depression is feeling too many sad or difficult feelings, the reality is that depression is a collection of symptoms that include other feelings like fear and anger, or sometimes not being able to feel anything at all. Anhedonia, the inability to experience joy or pleasure from things that you used to enjoy, is one of the classic signs of depression.

depression memevia reddit.com

When you care about others’ feelings more than your own

One of the hardest parts about having depression is needing to talk about it but being terrified of dragging others down with you or burning them out. You don’t want to be known as the Eyeore of the group. But your loved ones are your loved ones not just because you love them but because they love you too. They want to help. Talk to them. And then talk to a therapist. Therapy can be amazing if you find the right person. (Here’s how to find a good therapist.)

Just when you think you’ve got a grip on your depression…

… it all falls apart. Depression can come and go during different periods of your life and sometimes it surprises you by showing up at the worst possible time. It’s so frustrating but remember, you’ve gotten through this before, you can do it again. Bonus: You’ve learned a lot since the last time and now you’re better prepared to catch it early and start taking steps to feel better right away.

Next, try these instant mood boosters.

Sources
  • Nature: "Exploratory study on the role of emotion regulation in perceived valence, humour, and beneficial use of depressive internet memes in depression"
  • National Institute of Mental Health: "Depression"
  • The Lancet: "Cognitive behavioural therapy as an adjunct to pharmacotherapy for primary care based patients with treatment resistant depression: results of the CoBalT randomised controlled trial"

Charlotte Hilton Andersen
Charlotte Hilton Andersen has been covering health and fitness for many major outlets, both in print and online, for 13 years. She's the author of two books, co-host of the Self Help Obsession podcast, and does freelance editing and ghostwriting. She teaches fitness classes in her spare time. She lives in Denver with her husband, four children, and three pets.