Part 1 of 2 on what to say (and not say) to someone coping with depression
There are certain things one wouldn’t say to a dying or grieving person. The same is true for someone coping with depression and yet some people are still insensitive to a depressed persons needs. Those needs are no different than anyone who is sick.
offer support & understanding
A depressed person is sick and needs rest, comfort, love and assistance to recover. Without your help the road will be much harder for them.
Here’s 40 things not to say to someone coping with depression:
- everything will be okay
- I understand
- I know how you feel I was depressed for a few days once
- your depression is a way to get back at us
- it’s always about you
- have you tried tea
- what is your problem
- it’s all in your mind
- quit your whining
- nobody cares anyway
- you are a tough cookie, I thought you were stronger
- grow up
- it’s a great day…just enjoy it
- you have so much to be grateful for
- happiness is a choice
- at least it’s not that bad
- have you tried vitamins
- you are what you think you are…if you project it, it will happen
- why can’t you be normal
- you should get out more
- try a hot bath or shower to make you feel better
- get a job
- you need a hobby
- you need more friends
- just change it
- you look fine
- you are always looking for attention
- we all have good days and bad days
- trying smiling more and having more fun
- you brought it on yourself
- the only person you are hurting is yourself
- leave me alone
- stop thinking about it
- try a little harder
- snap out of it
- get some fresh air
- there is always someone worse off than you
- who said life is fair
- stop feeling sorry for yourself
- it’s your own fault
This list is just a starter but I hope you get the point.
Most importantly – don’t say NOTHING.
Your silence speaks a thousand words. If you say nothing it will seem as if you don’t care. But saying so many things out of ignorance are hurtful and harmful. They are patronizing and condescending. This may not be intentional but it gets that result.
A depressed person is very sensitive so be careful with what you say. Instead of being insensitive and thinking you are providing help, start educating yourself and share this with everyone.
Did you know at least 1 in 5 people, or just under 20%, will suffer from depression during their lifetime? And yet half the population sees it as a weakness not a sickness.
The World Health Organization estimates that over 120 million people are currently suffering from depression. About a quarter of those have access to treatment. If you add other mental health issues those numbers are staggering and treatment can make a huge difference. You can help by spreading the word. In the second part of this brief list, I will take the time to explore what to say and do for someone that is depressed.