There are some things you should NOT say to someone who’s depressed.
Depression is a hard thing to go through. It’s also not that easy watching someone you care about go through a bout of depression. But there are things you should and shouldn’t say to someone who experiences depression. A lot of the times things that you think are helpful will be interpreted differently by someone in the depressive mood.
This post focuses on the things you should not say to someone who’s depressed.
7 Things NOT to Say to Someone Who’s Depressed
When you’re depressed a lot of us feel down on our luck, so things that you might think are encouraging can be viewed as harmful. There are some things you just shouldn’t really say to someone who’s depressed because it’s not going to go well. I know most of you mean well, but give your words a think about before you actually say them.
“It’s all in your head!”
Well, yes. We know that. It’s either mental or physical and it’s literally all in our heads, but that isn’t going to do anything. We know that our mental state is all in our head, but right now it’s not in a good place. Reminding us about that just makes things worse. Some of us also know our depression is partly genetic so there’s a literal chemical imbalance going on that causes the issue.
What this statement does is invalidates our feelings and makes us feel like it’s something we should be able to just get on with. But a lot of the time it’s not. So when you’re around someone who’s depressed, please don’t tell them that.
“Others have it worse!”
Just because other people have it worse doesn’t mean that we can’t experience pain and depression. Other people having hardships doesn’t make it so we can’t have hardships ourselves.
This not only makes us feel bad that we’re feeling bad, but also that there are others out there who have it worse. It makes us feel like we shouldn’t be allowed to feel the way we’re feeling and that’s not good.
“Don’t worry about it!” or “Cheer up!”
This may seem innocuous, but it can be a big blow to someone who’s depressed. Tell us not to worry about it isn’t really something we can do in the first place. When you’re depressed it encompasses everything about you. There’s no “don’t worry about it” because it’s always present in our lives, especially if you’re going through a rough time.
It’s kind of like trying to tell an angry person to “just calm down”, telling a depressed person to “Cheer up” won’t make us happy and just reminds us a reinforces that even though we’re trying not to be outwardly depressed, it’s not working.
“You’ll get better soon!”
This may seem like a good thing to tell to someone who’s depressed, but in reality it can be harmful if you’re not paying attention to the state your depressed friend or family member is in. Telling us to get better soon makes us realize how bad our depression is on the outside. It also creates a timeline we know isn’t going to come.
A lot of us don’t have environmental or situational depression so we know that while we may be in a better mental state one day, we’re never going to get “better”. There’s no real cure for depression and it’s something we’re going to be dealing with for the rest of our lives. We’re always going to be someone who’s depressed.
“But everything’s okay!”
Yeah, sometimes not much or anything is really wrong but we’re still depressed. That’s how depression works.
We know that everything is okay, but because we have depression everything isn’t okay.
A lot of the times we don’t know what the cause is and sometimes there isn’t a cause, but we’re having a bout of depression and telling us it’s okay just makes us feel worse about feeling bad.
“You shouldn’t be taking medication.”
This one is just insulting. I’m one of the people who can’t function without medication. Yes, I’ve tried other things, but because mental health issues run in my family, part of my depression is due to genetics and not situations or my environment. Therefore I need the medication to survive and live.
Telling someone who’s depressed that they shouldn’t be taking medication is like telling someone with diabetes they don’t need insulin. Everyone is different and no, your yoga/meditation/alternative med prescription isn’t going to work either. We know what’s best for us and we’ve worked it out with our doctors.
“Wow, that’s a lot of medication!”
I mostly get this from doctors in some form or another. Either that or “are you sure you’re on all this medication?”.
The answer is yes. I have a lot of medical problems and that correlates with needing a variety of medication to keep those things under control. Making comments like this is just demeaning and makes us feel bad for needing our medication in the first place. There’s enough stigma surrounding depression in the first place, we don’t need this from a friend or family member as well.
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