7 Awful Things NOT to Say to Someone Who’s Depressed

7 Awful Things NOT to Say to Someone Who’s Depressed


It's not that easy watching someone you care about go through depression. But there are things you shouldn't say to someone who experiences depression. #depression #dontsaythis

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.

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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.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Preparing for Depression Days



“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.

Related: My Depression Story: Why You Should Listen to Kids


“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.

Related: What to Do When You Have a Legit Mental Breakdown


“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.

Related: When Depression Isn’t Really Depression



“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.

Related: Ultimate Guide to Dealing With a Depression Day in One Weekend


It's not that easy watching someone you care about go through depression. But there are things you shouldn't say to someone who experiences depression. #depression #dontsaythis


“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.

Related: Adding Medication to your Depression Care is NOT a Bad Thing 


“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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This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Melody Pendlebury

    This is a really helpful article. I love the resources as reference as well!

  2. Clarissa

    I love this! I’ve always had depression and it runs in my family as well. I think a lot of people have good intentions, but they truly don’t understand what we are going through. Posts like this can give them a little insight on what appropriate. Thank you!

  3. Em and Jess

    I completely get where you’re coming from here, I had someone say to me once ‘but what have you even got to be depressed about?’ and for a split second it made me feel really small. But then I realised that person was just quite ignorant, because mental health is such a real thing, and I can’t even describe how much medication has helped me.

    1. shortstuffblog

      Without medication I’d probably be on the floor crying my heart out. I’m so grateful medication works for me. Thanks for reading!

  4. Exactly, 100% correct! All of these comments are so unhelpful, and in some cases, extremely minimising and detrimental. I also dislike it when people tell someone who is going through a bout of depression to just “think positively”. Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. shortstuffblog

      Yes! If I could think positively, I would. Lol.

      Thanks for reading!

  5. Giulia

    The one I hate is “have you tried exercising?” My anxiety exhausts me and stresses me out, but running on the elliptical will help.

    1. shortstuffblog

      Yes! I can barely get out of bed just to pee, but sure, let me go running… -_-

  6. Michelle

    Thank you for this! I live in a very conservative city and for most people here (especially people my parents’ age) depression is a very mysterious or even non-existent condition. My brother suffered from depression for 12 years before he got help. Also, I’ve been on anti-depressants for about a year and my parents don’t know. I wish there wasn’t this stigma attached to it, then people who need help could get it easier.

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