Have you been depressed or know of someone who has? If you are reading this you have. Chances are you have wanted to help the situation, but didn’t know what to say or what not to say to them. This article offers some statements you should never make to anyone who is depressed. If you don’t say these things, you may actually be able to help!
Depression is a condition that can and does literally suck the life out millions of Americans. Mentally and physically, it is a battle that has to be dealt with daily for those suffering from depression. Depression also robs the victim of being able to do and enjoy everyday things that most people take for granted. The worst part for the one depressed is that most of the time they realize it, and they watch life go by and they long to be a normal part of it, but simply can’t without help. Left untreated, depression will ultimately consume the life of the one suffering from it. Encourage family or friends who are depressed to seek help from a doctor, the sooner the better.
1.) If you have only experience depression for a few days in your life, please don’t tell a chronically depressed person that “I understand how you feel. I’ve been depressed for a few days one time.” Trust me, if you had really been depressed, you would never repeat those words to a person who has long-term depression. If your life has never been halted to a point that you are just doing the bare minimum to meet your daily obligations and nothing else, you haven’t had real depression. This statement just makes the depressed more depressed and feeling more alone than ever. They cannot put into words how bad they feel, so they just feel unjustified by feeling the way they do and they turn their anger toward themselves.
2.) Don’t say to a person who is depressed, “I think your depression is just to punish me or us.”Granted, there may be person who is vindictive and plays games like this in a relationship, but 99% of the time I would say this is not the case. Depression is not a choice! Who would choose to feel so alone and so bad that they don’t even feel like walking across the floor? Not many people. This kind of blame only puts a load of guilt on the one suffering from depression and won’t help anything.
3.) Please don’t say to a depressed person, “Aren’t you tired of thinking of yourself all the time? It’s me, me, me, that’s all you think about.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. A depressed person is not a selfish person. A depressed person is only one that is completely wrapped up in emotions, feelings of insecurity, and fear. Fear that they are never going to be happy again. In a way, I guess one could say that’s selfish, but in fact I think it is self-preservation kicking in, a natural instinct.
4.) “Have you tried blank, blank, blank?” You fill in the blank here. Trust me; a chronically depressed person is just irritated further by hearing someone offering petty solutions. Yes, they’ve tried hot tea, a warm bath, smiling, talking about it, and many other things. Chances are they see nothing else they are able to do. They can’t just snap out of this terrible feeling of gloom by doing simple things such as these. The depressed is just left feeling “no one understands.”
5.) A depressed person feels extreme pressure from someone who says “Oh, you’re depressed again, aren’t you always?” This is not only a cruel thing to say, it’s like kicking a sick puppy on the side of the road. Beating someone down when yes, (they’re already down) will not only make the depressed person retreat deeper into depression, but it is likely to alienate them. They will get the feeling that they are going to be “abandoned” if they don’t get better. The depressed feels like they are not “good” enough to be around the person if they can’t get better. This is not what the person said, but this is what the depressed one heard.
6.) “Try not to be so depressed.” The best intentioned people will say this and though they care, they don’t realize the one depressed hears “You’re not trying,” Why can’t you?” “You’re a failure,” “You should be able to…” More feelings of “failure” heaped on the already tremendous amount of guilt the depressed already feels.
7.) “If you would just get out of the house and do something…” Sorry, this statement doesn’t make sense to the person who is depressed. It just doesn’t work this way. The depressed one thinks “You just don’t get it.”
Take a moment to consider what impact your words have on people, particularly those suffering from depression. To find out some of the things you can and should say to someone who is depressed that will be appreciated and helpful, please read 10 Things You “Should” Say to a Person Suffering from Depression.