1. If you're younger than 25, it's even harder to deal with depression because your brain isn't even done developing yet. The prefrontal cortex, which controls your impulses and ability to reason, finishes developing around the age of 25, which makes it a hell of a lot harder to deal with the scary thoughts of depression on top of college and getting a job and dating and whatever else. Hang in there, you'll be 26 in, like... well, whenever you turn 26.
2. I personally guarantee you know at least one person who is also secretly struggling with depression. Your friends might all seem like Sex and the City characters, but I still believe that in real life, at least one of those women was super depressed. Probably Charlotte. Nobody wears that many dresses without crying in them regularly.
3. If you ever feel like you're watching everyone through a pane of glass, you're not a crazy person. Basically depression is like being a mannequin at Forever 21: you might be wearing a dope outfit, but you're still not participating in life, and you're just watching everyone else live it and wishing you could eat Auntie Anne's pretzels, but you're too tired to walk there.
4. It's totally normal to feel depressed right now even if you've had a pretty rad life. Dr. Stuart Goldman, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Boston Children's Hospital, told LiveScience that most people experience their first bout of depression between the ages of 14 and 24, so even if you always felt like a happy little kid, it's totally probable that you'd start feeling depressed in your early 20s, even if you don't know why yet.
5. Sometimes when life finally gets better, you still just want to sit in a closet and eat ice cream. You know that point in the rom-com where the woman finally gets the guy and the job and the hilariously expensive apartment? Well, if she had a history of depression, this should also include a montage of her being terrified that it will all fall apart like it always does and crying in the shower.
6. It might be the real reason behind why you don't feel like the horny and fun twentysomething everyone expects you to feel like. It's not easy to be the well-sexed Victoria's Secret model when your anti-depressants and SSRIs are killing your sex drive, and your primary partner is chocolate.
7. Instead of staying up all night crying because your ex-boyfriend is never coming back and your mom is a monster, try to make yourself do things that might actually help. Even just watching kitten videos over and over again is a much better use of your time than beating yourself up over why you broke up with Jake because what if he was the only guy you could ever really love (pro tip: he's not).
8. Being depressed is one of the most boring things on the planet and anyone who romanticizes it is an idiot. When you're happy and full of joy, life is pretty much a commercial where you're just playing tennis all the time. When you have depression, it's more "I want to take naps and eat nachos because who cares." If you can, even for a few minutes, use that boredom to say, "Screw this. I'm going to go dance to the new Carly Rae Jepsen album unironically because I'm so tired of being in this grody bed."
9. More often than not, people will act like morons when you try to talk to them about your depression. Sadly, a lot of people you'll reach out to will say stupid things like, "I totally understand. I've been really stressed out lately too," and you will want to strangle them and promptly unfriend them on Facebook. But give them a chance to help. In a perfect world, they'd be better at it, but you already know this isn't a perfect world because, hello, you have depression.
10. There are four basic things that will always make you feel better so just do them already. Look, I know that taking a walk, drinking a Fiji water, eating some soup, and showering aren't going to transform your life, but if you haven't done any of those today and you're feeling like crap, those will always help. I can't promise that "We're not depressed anymore!" balloons will shoot out of your butt, but self-care goes a long way and it's easy to forget that when life feels like a heavy blanket over your face during the summer.
11. Know when your depression is seriously becoming A Thing. If you're having a couple of bad days but are coping OK and moving through it, that's one thing. But if you can't remember the last time you showered and this underwear is basically stuck to your body and your bed is full of foods they stopped making years ago, yeah, that's a whole other thing and it's time to get a therapist on the horn.
12. It will not always feel like you have a heavy blanket over your face during the summer. Even if it's just a week where you feel awesome and then you get sad again, hey, at least you had that time. Use it to make balloon animals for when you get sad again. Or, you know, something way less lame.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.