The Importance of Admitting You Don't Feel Well When You're Depressed

Is the world weighing you down? Is hopelessness undermining all your spirit and energy? If so, you must come out and say it, as difficult as it may be. In fact, explaining that you can't handle things will help you more than you think. Find out why here.
The Importance of Admitting You Don't Feel Well When You're Depressed
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 10 November, 2022

How do you feel today? How’s your day going? Do you feel encouraged and hopeful and strong enough to face your responsibilities? Or, do you feel as if you can barely stand your demoralizing feelings?  If so, you’re probably suffering from depression. Like any psychological disorder, it kills all your motivation. Moreover, it makes it extremely difficult for you to verbalize how you feel.

If you’re trapped in the black hole of depression, you probably don’t know how to start trying to explain it, so it’s easier to say nothing. You choose to keep quiet and hide because you don’t want to bother anyone with your problems. That’s because you’re afraid that you’ll be told “You’re always the same” or, worse still, “You just need to get out there and enjoy yourself”.

That said, there’ll be some really difficult days when you feel you have to break the hermetic barrier and talk to someone. However, your mind often deceives you by making you believe that no one cares about you when it really isn’t the case. But the voice of depression is treacherous and manipulative, and it feeds your mind with lies.

Of course, there are people who love you, who want to help you and, above all, listen to you. But to admit that your whole world seems to be falling apart inside you takes courage. Nevertheless, talking about your emotions will heal and liberate you, and will allow you to act in the face of what’s happening to you. Just remember, depression doesn’t disappear in a couple of days or a month, and relapses and moments of darkness, after a few days of clarity, are common.

Sad senior man sitting thinking I don't feel good
Expressing pain is more therapeutic than you might think.

The need to admit you don’t feel well

When you have the flu, a drop in blood pressure, or a migraine, you don’t hesitate to tell whoever’s close to you “I don’t feel well”. Your colleague, friend, or family member will probably tell you to “Go home, call the doctor, rest, call me if you need anything” or “I’ll stay with you for a while until you feel better”.

However, when anxiety prevents you from even breathing and anguish fills your mind with sharp negative thoughts, you stay silent. That’s because, while society has normalized talking about physical pain, emotional pain is taboo. Therefore, you find it hard to talk about what hurts you when you’re suffering mentally. Unsurprisingly, this aggravates your situation.

If you’re depressed, you’ll have a really limited capacity for emotional expression. A study conducted by Dr. Jonathan Rottenberg, author of books such as Depths: The Evolutionary Origins of the Depression Epidemic (2014), states that a patient with a depressive disorder has many difficulties in expressing what they feel. In general, their suffering is non-verbal and materializes in their reactions, tiredness, expressions, movements, etc. The act of speaking and communicating their thoughts and emotions is complex and extremely tiring for them, but they must make the effort to do so. They must take the step and say out loud “I don’t feel well”, so their needs and fears can be recognized.

Silencing the pain and the thoughts that build a psychological disorder intensifies and worsens that psychological reality even more.

When depression leaves you feeling fatigued

Depression leaves you without any reserves of energy. Feelings of discouragement and hopelessness are accompanied by a continuous feeling of physical weakness. Your body moves more slowly and you feel weighed down. You also suffer sleep disturbances which might alternate between insomnia and excessive sleep.

By admitting you don’t feel good, you’re really asking for help. It’s perfectly acceptable to do this. After all, you really wish you were able to carry on as normal but it’s impossible.

You can’t think clearly and everything seems chaotic

Depression is like living inside a really small house with tiny windows. Everything feels suffocating, the world’s a dark place, and what you see through those tiny windows seems strange and meaningless. It’s difficult to focus your attention, your memory fails, and the outside world feels chaotic. You simply can’t identify with it.

This means you’re unable to handle the simplest of tasks. You forget your shopping list and are late for most of your appointments. In fact, you forget both the important and the trivial.

You feel alone and think you’re worthless

Admitting you don’t feel well is an act of courage because it’ll allow you to receive support and be understood and supported. Indeed, expressing how bad you feel doesn’t show weakness, but validates what you’re feeling so you can deal with what’s happening to you. Remember, there’s no rush in healing and treating depression. You need to allow yourself to be loved, understood, and guided.

Depression is a jailer that enjoys isolating you from your environment. Therefore, admitting that you’re suffering, that you feel alone, and that you’re not well means you’re fighting against it. So do it. Fight against the voice that’s immobilizing you and wants you to be alone.

Man doing therapy saying I don't feel good
Admitting that you don’t feel well is an excellent first step. In therapy, you can unravel your feelings and all the emotions that go with them.

You can’t describe everything you feel, you can only say you’re wrong

Your limbic activity is affected by putting words to your emotions (Lieberman et al., 2007). It means the amygdala, the small neural area responsible for regulating emotions such as fear or anguish, reduces its hyperactivity.

Communicating, and giving voice to what’s hurting you gradually stimulates your prefrontal cortex. This allows you to enhance your executive functions a little more. It means that your memory, reasoning, and reflection will increase to minimize your emotional suffering. Consequently, although it may seem irrelevant, admitting that you don’t feel well is a gateway to your improvement.

At first, it might be difficult for you to explain everything that’s happening inside you. You might feel afraid, angry, hopeless, confused, and negative. Sometimes, you may feel guilty without knowing why, and even hate yourself for no reason. Admitting this is difficult and might make you feel ashamed. That’s because you think that no one will understand you.

However, there are always people who are there to listen and understand. Talking heals. It frees and mends the broken pieces that depression breaks with its weight and ominous presence. So don’t hesitate. Ask for help and communicate with those who are close to you and love you.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Lieberman, M. D., Eisenberger, N. I., Crockett, M.J., Tom, S. M., Pfeiffer, J. H., & Way, B. M. (2007). Putting feelings into words: Affect labeling disrupts amygdala activity in response to affective stimuli. Psychological Science, 18, 421-427.
  • Rottenberg, J., & Vaughan, C. (2008). Emotion expression in depression: Emerging evidence for emotion context-insensitivity. In A. Vingerhoets, I. Nyklíček, & J. Denollet (Eds.), Emotion regulation: Conceptual and clinical issues (pp. 125–139). Springer Science + Business Media.
  • Pennebaker, J. W. (1997). Writing about emotional experiences as a therapeutic process. Psychological Science, 8, 162-166.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.