Telling Them That They Dont Seem Depressed
Sometimes we say this out of a good place to encourage the person but its simply one of those things that might be good for the person saying it, but quite negative for the recipient as it leaves room to be misconstrued.
You see this falls under what not to say to someone with depression because it can make the person feel unsure of themselves and their depression such that they might fail to deal with it adequately. For instance, maybe they are an artist and made a piece of beautiful artwork such that you are tempted to say, Would a depressed person make this? Dont say it. A depressed person could in fact make it but that does not make them any less depressed.
There is also the fact that some depressed people deliberately go out of their way to take care of themselves so that other people dont notice their depression. If they come out to you, that means they trust you to look past their disguise and you not doing so might be hurtful.
Related article How to know if your teenager is depressed.
Symptoms And Signs That Warrant Expert Help
Admission to hospital can occur voluntarily or involuntarily. Involuntary admission – or a forced admission against someone’s will – is only used as a last resort if the person’s life or other peoples’ lives are in danger. Hospital admission may be needed for people that:
- Experience hallucinations
- Threaten other people or try and take their own lives
- Have delusions
- Have not slept or eaten for days
- Cannot care for themselves on a daily basis
- Have symptoms that are interfering with their life
- Need specialist treatment such as electroconvulsive therapy
- Have significant problems with alcohol or other substances
- Whose symptoms have not improved or who have relapsed with their current treatment.
Telling Them That You Understand How They Feel When You Dont
You should also avoid telling a depressed person that you understand how they feel because you most likely dont. Depression is not some sad feeling that most people understand but rather a deeper result of chemical imbalance in the brain that can be really traumatic. In fact, you saying that you understand a depressed person is a depressing thing to say about yourself.
It is also worthy of note that the depression one person feels can be different from that felt by another. This means that even if you have had depression before, there is still a good chance that you dont know how the person feels. Essentially it is best to avoid saying you understand to a depressed person by keeping it in your mind that this is part of what not to say to someone who is depressed.
You May Like: Living With A Depressed Spouse
Dear Anxiety I Am A Good Mom You Can’t Take That Away From Me
The chances are good that you know someone with depression. And chances are youve often wondered what to say and what not to say to your friend, colleague or family member who is battling the illness.
People who suffer depression say the feelings of despair and hopelessness may never be truly understood by those who have never experienced it. But there are ways we can help our friends and loved ones.
Encouraging The Person To Get Help
While you cant control someone elses recovery from depression, you can start by encouraging the depressed person to seek help. Getting a depressed person into treatment can be difficult. Depression saps energy and motivation, so even the act of making an appointment or finding a doctor can seem daunting to your loved one. Depression also involves negative ways of thinking. The depressed person may believe that the situation is hopeless and treatment pointless.
Because of these obstacles, getting your loved one to admit to the problemand helping them see that it can be solvedis an essential step in depression recovery.
If your friend or family member resists getting help:
Suggest a general check-up with a physician. Your loved one may be less anxious about seeing a family doctor than a mental health professional. A regular doctors visit is actually a great option, since the doctor can rule out medical causes of depression. If the doctor diagnoses depression, they can refer your loved one to a psychiatrist or psychologist. Sometimes, this professional opinion makes all the difference.
Offer to help the depressed person find a doctor or therapist and go with them on the first visit.Finding the right treatment provider can be difficult, and is often a trial-and-error process. For a depressed person already low on energy, it is a huge help to have assistance making calls and looking into the options.
You May Like: How To Heal Yourself From Depression
Assure Them That Theres Hope
One of the most important things about depression is that they need to learn to cope with it. And also to always remember that even if life seems tough now, it will get better.
It wont hurt forever, so its important to assure them that theres hope.
Help them realize that its an illness, not something they bring upon themselves .
Professionals can help and set up a plan to get things under control, and you can play your part by saying, Your feelings are real and I want to be here to help you through it. I believe that one day youll be okay, the darkness will go away, and your days will be bright again.
Dont You Want To Get Better
This kind of statement implies that a depressed individual is at fault.
Depression can be tough to treat, and no medication or treatment is one hundred percent effective all the time, said Ross. Among many depressed patients there are already feelings they arent strong enough or good enough to fight the illness, and piling on with negative comments that imply they are in complete control of their well-being is destructive, adding to stigma, she said.
Read Also: Number One Cause Of Depression
What Not To Say: I Know How You Feel I Was Depressed Once
This is the worst thing to hear when you have depression. Whether or not the person saying it has actually had depression before, no two people feel something entirely the same way. When you say this, it can make people with depression feel as though youre downplaying their feelings and struggle.
When I suffered with depression, a family friend whod also suffered for many years, was a great help to me. She allowed me to talk to her and tell her how I was feeling without making me feel as though we were comparing notes. All too often depression can turn into a game of who had it worse, and this is the last thing you need if youre depressed.
The definition of depression can also become blurred. Ive had people tell me that theyve also suffered with depression, only to explain a bad mood or a bad day, and it can be draining. Depression isnt something that pops up overnight and goes away in a week or two.
You Dont Have Anything To Be Depressed About
Our society often equates happiness to material items, or a lack of negative stress, Anderson points out. If there isnt a disaster or crisis, then I should be happy and not sad.
Anderson goes on to say that there doesnt have to be anything wronga persons depression could simply be the result of feeling unfulfilled, low serotonin, or other medical causes.
Don’t Miss: What Is Deep Brain Stimulation For Depression
Worst Things To Say To Someone Who Is Depressed
Some people trivialize depression by dropping a platitude on a depressed person as if that is the one thing they needed to hear. While some of these thoughts have been helpful to some people , the context in which they are often said mitigates any intended benefit to the hearer. Platitudes don’t cure depression.
Here is the list from contributors to ask:
0. “What’s your problem?”
1. “Will you stop that constant whining? What makes you think that anyone cares?”
2. “Have you gotten tired yet of all this me-me-me stuff?”
3. “You just need to give yourself a kick in the rear.”
4. “But it’s all in your mind.”
5. “I thought you were stronger than that.”
6. “No one ever said life was fair.”
7. “As you get stronger you won’t have to wallow in it as much.”
8. “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.”
9. “Do you feel better now?”
10. “Why don’t you just grow up?”
11. “Stop feeling sorry for yourself.”
12. “There are a lot of people worse off than you.”
13. “You have it so good, why aren’t you happy?”
14. “It’s a beautiful day!”
15. “You have so many things to be thankful for, why are you depressed?”
16. “What do you have to be depressed about.”
17. “Happiness is a choice.”
18. “You think you’ve got problems…”
19. “Well at least it’s not that bad.”
20. “Maybe you should take vitamins for your stress.”
21. “There is always somebody worse off than you are.”
22. “Lighten up!”
23. “You should get off all those pills.”
24. “You are what you think.”
25. “Cheer up!”
32. “Get a grip!”
Telling Them They Need To Deal With Depression Better
Can you imagine a person having flu and you telling them that they need to cough or sneeze better? It might be a bit of an oversimplification but it is analogous to telling a person to deal with their depression better.
When you tell a person that they need to deal with depression better, it has the effect of trivializing the depression as well as making the person feel worse about themselves and their ability to handle things. It might also make a depressed person feel as though they will be stuck being depressed for a while as this is the only reason why a person ought to get used to something.
You May Like: What To Do When You Think You Have Depression
Its Ok That You Feel This Way There Is Hope
There is often a sense of shame or embarrassment on the part of the depressed person. Many people with depression sometimes feel that there is something wrong with them, or that they have no real reason to feel depressed. On the other hand, there are those who may feel there are good reasons to be depressed.
Let Mom or Dad know that its OK for them to feel the way that theyre feeling, and that its not their fault. Depression is a legitimate health condition that affects millions of people, and countless individuals have learned to manage mental illness with the help of therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes your mom or dad can, too. Make sure that they know help is available and its nothing to be ashamed about.
Taking Care Of Yourself
Theres a natural impulse to want to fix the problems of people we care about, but you cant control someone elses depression. You can, however, control how well you take care of yourself. Its just as important for you to stay healthy as it is for the depressed person to get treatment, so make your own well-being a priority.
Remember the advice of airline flight attendants: put on your own oxygen mask before you assist anyone else. In other words, make sure your own health and happiness are solid before you try to help someone who is depressed. You wont do your friend or family member any good if you collapse under the pressure of trying to help. When your own needs are taken care of, youll have the energy you need to lend a helping hand.
Speak up for yourself. You may be hesitant to speak out when the depressed person in your life upsets you or lets you down. However, honest communication will actually help the relationship in the long run. If youre suffering in silence and letting resentment build, your loved one will pick up on these negative emotions and feel even worse. Gently talk about how youre feeling before pent-up emotions make it too hard to communicate with sensitivity.
Also Check: Is Depression And Anxiety A Mental Illness
When Is It Time To Seek Professional Help
Its important to recognize that depression, and mental illness as a whole, is a serious medical condition that you are not likely to be fully equipped to deal with. Do not think that you have to solve the problem all by yourself or that its your duty to even do this.
On the contrary, your parent might need professional help from a doctor or counselor. Take the issue seriously, because there is always a risk of suicide when it comes to depression.
Pay attention to your parents behavior and mood. Are they withdrawing from activities and becoming more isolated from other family members or friends? Are they sleeping too much or too little? Are they misusing or abusing medications? Maybe theyve started talking about having no reason to live, or expressing suicidal thoughts. If youve started noticing these warning signs, its time to seek help.
Make sure your parent has access to the Canada Suicide Prevention Services hotline number: 1.833.456.4566. Find local resources and support groups in the area where you live. And as always, encourage your parent to talk with their own doctor or a mental health professional if theyre experiencing symptoms of depression or having suicidal thoughts.
What To Say To Someone Who Is Depressed
We humans are a complex bunch, and even with all the loving intent in the world it can be difficult to know what to say. Here are some places to start.
This isnt an ending. You can beat this.
The hopelessness of depression stands with its arms crossed, blocking the door to anything better. Thats how it feels. You probably wont be believed the first time you say this, but just keep saying it and believing it enough for both of you. Even if the way out feels blocked, youll at least be lighting the path.
This will help more than you realise but back it up with action. Call. Visit. Make contact. The very nature of depression means that the depressed person will be unlikely to reach out to you. Show them you have enough reach in you for both of you. It will make a difference.
Narrow your offer of help.
If you say, let me know what I can do to help, youre likely to get a nothing or just nothing back. Depression makes things seem pointless and overwhelming. Narrowing down your offer gives a starting point. Narrow down the time Ill meet you after your session/ therapy/ doctors appointment if you want, or the task What can I do to help with the kids?Ive made a curry. Theres heaps. Can I bring some over for you. Just throw it in the freezer if you want.
Read Also: Always Feeling Sad And Depressed
You Can Move Forward In The Face Of Your Depression
Some people believe that having depression makes them weak or broken. The truth is that every day they get out of bed, go to work, or move forward while living with depression is proof of their ability to keep going.
Depression can feel like a weight on your chest. For some people, it can be a disability.
However, every day that someone keeps going while theyre living with depression is proof they can keep going.
Do You Want To Talk About It Im Ready To Listen
They may very well not want to talk about it, and you shouldnt force them to, but by letting them know that youre there for them and that youll listen to whatever they say, without judgement, can be strengthening and boost their confidence. It can form a stronger bond between you and them, and even if they dont choose to speak with you right then, if you let them know that youre always there if they ever need to talk, they might just take you up on the offer.
Don’t Miss: How To Deal With A Depressed Spouse
Don’t Dismiss Their Pain
When you’re talking to a friend who is depressed or going through a difficult time, resist the temptation to compare pain. Remember that pain is not only subjective but relative.
Avoid comments like:
- “It can’t be that bad.”
- “It could be worse.”
- “You think you have it bad”
People with depression also lack the internal resources needed to cope with stress in an effective and healthy way. To you, an event or situation that constitutes a minor annoyance or inconvenience may feel like an insurmountable obstacle to your loved one with depression.
People often worry if they don’t see a clear “reason” for their depression, and not knowing why they are depressed can make matters worse. What someone’s life looks like on the outside doesn’t always reflect, or change, how they feel on the inside.
Depression doesn’t need a justification. The experience is highly personal, and even if you care about someone and want to help, be aware that you can never know for sure how it feels to be them.
Maybe a person’s life could be worse, but depression isn’t about how bad things areit’s about how bad they feel for that person at that moment.
Avoid making comparisons or staging a “competition” for who feels the worst. Doing so isn’t helpful and can make a person with depression feel that you’re minimizing their experience or not really listening to what they’re telling you.
What Not To Say To Someone Who Is Depressed
WhatToGetMy Instructional Article
- Depression affects millions of people every year including our family and friends.
- With it being such a sensitive issue, there are certain things we cannot say and certain ways we cannot behave around a depressed person because it could make their condition worse.
- We, therefore, have the responsibility to watch what we say around those who are depressed around us as this could mean the difference between their recovery or deeper spiral into depression.
The things we say to others will more often than not, have an impact on them. In the case of depression, it is absolutely important that we know what not to say to someone who is depressed because they are in a fragile emotional state and could misread what you say such that very negative consequences occur.
The World Health Organization estimates that around 280 million adults around the world are suffering from depression and with this graph from Statista showing that all adult age groups suffer at similar rates, there is a good chance that a lot of people know someone who is suffering from this mental condition.
If you are one of those people, you might be experiencing the urge to help the depressed person. This is a good thing because the last thing that depressed people need is to be alone. They need to know that people care about them, that they matter, and that there are people who support them.
Also Check: Where To Go For Help With Depression