Depression is a mental illness that is characterized by prolonged low mood, sadness and hopelessness. It destroys the lives of those that suffer from it and is highly debilitating. This terrible illness is extremely common with more than 3 million cases per year. Sadly, people with depression are oftentimes highly discriminated against. People often don’t know what to say to those that are suffering from this illness. They don’t know how to communicate with someone with depression and say many offensive, hurtful things. Down below are listed the top 10 things to never say to people with depression.
1. Remain Positive
This is not how to communicate with someone with this mental illness. A person experiencing this mental illness doesn’t always even know how to stay positive. The disease can have biological causes that words won’t solve. It can also be difficult to remain positive with terrible circumstances. Many of these people have suffered traumatic experiences that remaining positive won’t solve. It makes people with this disease uncomfortable and offended to hear it.
2. Don’t Think Like That
This is easier said than done. Rewiring your brain to think differently can take years of therapy to fix. It’s rude and unnecessary to tell someone to think differently. It makes them feel like they are flawed in the way they think and feel. It can lower someone’s self-esteem. They may wonder if they should think more like you and how that probably isn’t better. It may make them feel like they should become someone else as if they aren’t good enough. This reckless comment is not a good way to communicate and may make them feel like they are an immoral person for having such depressing thoughts.
3. Just Snap Out of It
This senseless statement may make them think they are being mocked. You can’t just snap out of mental illness. It’s like telling someone to snap out of cancer. If it were that easy, no one would have it. It could make these people feel incompetent because they can’t just get over it so easily.
4. Why Do You Need to be Depressed
This comes across as an accusation. As if they are guilty of being depressed. This illness isn’t a crime and it isn’t something you need. It’s an uncontrollable disease that impacts your everyday life. Saying something like this can cause the depressed person to feel confused about their disease and lead them to isolate themselves.
5. Look at How Lucky You Are Already! Be Thankful
Depressed people can be very grateful for the things they have and the life they lead, but that still doesn’t change the fact that depression is a sickness they have to deal with. People can suffer while still having good things in their life. Saying something so cruel can cause the depressed person to feel judged. They may feel misunderstood and feel accused of being spoiled and ungrateful. This can just lead to even further isolation as they hide away to avoid further judgment.
6. Go Do Something and You Will Feel Better
This is easy for a normal person to say. However, when a person is depressed, they may feel so exhausted from the illness that they have no energy or motivation to continue to do anything. This just reminds them of how drained and lifeless they may be feeling. They may feel like you are harassing them to the point where they no longer want to speak to you or anyone. To avoid a decline in mental health, it is best to avoid this exclamation.
7. What’s Wrong With You?
This comes off as rather accusatory. This insinuates that the depressed person is inherently flawed, and they may feel they should change who they are. This is a hurtful thing to say and is unhelpful. Many depressed people don’t understand what is exactly wrong with themselves either. Hearing a comment like this can make the person feel angry, hopeless, and sometimes even suicidal. It’s best to not say anything of this nature.
8. Telling Them What They Should or Shouldn’t Do Such as not Killing Themselves
This sounds rather demanding and controlling. They are an independent person and can make their own decisions. They don’t need you to dictate their life. This needless comment can make the depressed person angry and feel rebellious. It sounds rather patronizing and insulting.
9. See How Others Suffer Even Worse and Have No Food to Eat, Be Grateful For What You Have
This comment comes across as heartless and unsympathetic. Just because some people suffer more, it doesn’t mean we can’t feel sorry for those that are suffering less. Although suffering and heartache are immeasurable, this means you can NOT accurately say that someone else is suffering worse. A comment such as this one can make the depressed person feel like they are being unjustly compared to others.
10. It’s All In your Head…
I mean… so is brain cancer, but would you say that to someone with a brain tumor? This comes across as spiteful and judgemental. This disease is often highly fatal. 60 percent of suicides are associated with this illness. It is a serious and debilitating disease that should be taken seriously at all times.
All these comments are not what to say to someone with this disease. They can drive people further into despair and even suicide. On the other hand, there are some things you really should say to people who are suffering from this crippling illness.
You could try asking if they need a hug. This is a good thing to ask. It shows that you care about them and may make them feel loved and cared for. You can also show you care by letting them know you’re there for them when they need you. You can let them know they are not alone in this. Make sure to validate what they are going through. You can let them know their disease is real and they are not losing their minds. You can remind them it’s serious and they are strong for getting through it.