Depression Help

I used to wish I had a list of 10 things not to say to someone who is depressed stuffed in my pocket, ready to give to anyone who pushed my sensitivity buttons. Some people would say the stupidest thing, and I mean really stupid, and expect that you’d be happy for the advice. I’d shake my head. “Why would you say that to someone who’s depressed and suicidal?!”

True, some people don’t know how to talk to someone who’s depressed. So here’s my list of 10 things not to say to someone who is depressed.

  1. Snap Out Of It – Depression is a medical illness. It needs medication to bring the body back into balance. You can’t just snap out of depression. It’s like telling a cancer patient to snap out of cancer.
  2. Cheer Up – A depressed person can’t cheer up because there’s no thing or reason that can cheer you up. Saying cheer up will just make the person put on a fake smile or fake positivity for you.
  3. It’s All In Your Head – True, that’s where the negative ideas are and where the chemical imbalance is located. But life experiences and personal situations have a big impact on depression. If those aren’t also dealt with, depression can deepen.
  4. It Could Be Worse – Things in a person’s life could be worse, but depression is about how bad a person feels right now. It can feel like there’s no past or future. You judge life by how crappy you feel in that moment.
  5. It’s Always About You – In a way it is. There’s so much pain that the depressed person might not see past the pain to appreciate what others are doing to try to help. The depressed person isn’t being selfish. It’s just that the intense pain and sadness prevent being able to focus on anything else.
  6. It’s Your Fault – We like to judge and put blame on others. Tempting as it might be, saying it’s your fault means you’re judging the person based on partial facts or your bias. Sometimes there’s no real reason for depression. It can be hereditary or environmental, things beyond the person’s control. Making a depressed person feel like a failure won’t help.
  7. Get Over It – Depression isn’t about self-pity, even if that’s how it looks to you. It can take years to get to a point in life where depression is manageable. It’s not a speed race. It’s an endurance course.
  8. Don’t You Want To Feel Better? – Of course the person wants to feel better! But the question is how? Medications take a long time to kick in with their effectiveness. Therapy takes time. Energy is gone or low. Friends aren’t visiting. Telling the person go to the gym, take yoga, or meditate is frustrating because if those things worked, then the person would have done it long ago.
  9. I Know How You Feel – This will get the eye roll and close all communications. Yes, you’re kind for being empathetic. But even if you’re an identical twin, you don’t know how the depressed person feels. There are minute differences in your brain chemistry and how you perceive the world. All you do with this comment is get the person angry.
  10. Silence – Silence is as bad as saying something wrong. Silence means you don’t care or are afraid to ask. At least that’s what the depressed person will think. Don’t be afraid to talk to the person. Remember, suicidal thoughts love silence.

* Click here to find out more about Terezia Farkas and her Depression help and click here to follow Terezia on Twitter

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