I have battled depression off and on for most of my life. Depression isn't your everyday down-in-the-dumps type of sadness. Yes, I feel down-in-the-dumps, but it's much more than that. Depression is constant battle that keeps going despite my best efforts to get rid of it.

I believe everyone should know these 7 things about depression. Whether you suffer from depression yourself or know someone who does, knowing these things can help anyone struggling with this illness.

1. Depression has little to do with life's circumstances

Don't tell me that I have no reason to be depressed just because life has treated me well. I may have all the money in the world with nice friends to boot, but that doesn't change the fact that I'm depressed.

2. My depression cannot easily or instantly be shaken off

Please don't say, "get over it". This phrase makes things worse because depression isn't something that I can just get over. Don't you think that I would have "gotten over it" a long time ago if I could?

3. Don't isolate me, even if I ask you to

Feeling depressed makes me want to isolate myself and chase others away, but it's not good for me. Even when I want to be alone, please check on me now and then to make sure I'm all right and don't need anything.

4. Don't turn me away

Don't call me names. Don't say that I'm "a killjoy", a "deadbeat" or "will kill the party". I don't like being depressed any more than you like me being depressed. Hurtful names push me closer and closer to my emotional edge, so please don't call me names. I am in a dark, deep hole. You may not be able to help me out of it, but just knowing you're there to support me helps more than you know.

5. Just because you don't see it doesn't mean it's not there

The names I'm called and way people treat me are hurtful. I sometimes attempt to "act happy" though it's not how I really feel. People tell me if I act happy or joyful, the act will eventually become my reality. This act is draining. Even when I have a happy face on, my depression hasn't gone away. Don't be mean, I'm doing my best.

6. Depression takes away all of my energy

All I want to do is sleep. I think that sleeping might help me get rid of my depression, but I wake up to find it's still there, as strong as ever. Sometimes I start thinking of ending it all-not because I want to die, but because it seems to be the only way I'll be able to escape it all. If I start talking that way, do not laugh. Don't say I'm just looking for attention. Take my words seriously. Stay with me until I feel a bit happier.

7. Sometimes medication is necessary

It wasn't my idea to take medicine. I even fought the idea, but I had to break depression's cycle. Sometimes medicine is the only way to climb out of this pit. Right now, medication is needed. Maybe when my life changes, or when I feel I have a better handle on things I can reduce the dose or break away from medication. But right now, it helps me live my life, instead of endlessly existing.

Depression is a serious illness. Don't take it lightly. Your understanding may help to save a life.

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