When you are depressed people often want to help get you through your depression but some people don’t know-how and do the opposite of that. Some people may have your best interest at heart and truly want to help and think you are but you could be helping in less ways than you think if you aren’t paying attention to how you speak. The things you say to someone with depression is important because it will make the biggest impact in their life and it will either change them or hurt their feelings. What you say will either be taken totally wrong and offend them or change them and make a difference in their life! You have that choice to decide if you want to make a difference and change someone’s life or if you don’t and couldn’t care less. Sometimes people don’t want you to know they are depressed because they are embarrassed by it and hide it really well so you won’t know they have it and you don’t need to as long as they aren’t doing anything harmful then it’s okay. Helping someone through depression can be as simple as the way you speak but if you don’t have depression it might be as simple as it may seem so I am going to give you a few tips on what not to say to someone with depression.
I totally understand-People like to say this all the time to disabled people or anyone who has a chronic condition and they totally shouldn’t. Depression is not just like feeling an occasional sad but feeling worthless and like you don’t matter. Just like you can’t understand what it’s like to be disabled unless you actually are disabled you can’t understand what it’s like to be depressed unless you actually have depression. Sometimes people say “I understand” because they think that is comforting but it is only comforting if it is coming from someone who actually has depression and truly does understand otherwise it’s not because you don’t understand and have not idea what you’re talking about. Reading a bunch of articles about a condition is not the same as fully understanding what it’s like to live it. It’s impossible to have a full understanding of what it’s like to live with a condition when you don’t have it! I have knowledge in many different conditions that I don’t have from blogs I follow but I would never say I can relate to them because I don’t know the first thing about many of these disabilities. You don’t need to relate to a condition but we would much rather you try not to if you can’t and say something like” I am sorry you are feeling this way what can I do to help? This way you are still expressing you want to do whatever it takes to get them through is but are making it clear that you don’t understand what they are going through.
You should get out more– Sometimes people think that depression is caused by the result of not being able to leave your house but not always is this the case. Some disabled people get depressed because they can’t leave their house but not always is this the cause because some people leave they’re house nearly every day and still suffer from depression. I know plenty of people who are never home that are depressed and many that are home all the time that are very happy with their lives. There are many reasons why someone could have depression and it is not always from not getting out enough because sometimes you get out a lot.
You have such a great life: What is there to be depressed about?- People often say to disabled people you are unemployed and have a great life what could you possibly be depressed about? I may not have a job to worry about or grades I have to keep up with but I have a chronic condition where I face many challenges and am unable to do some things with my friends because of my condition which is why a lot of disabled people get depressed. Many of the things my friends can do like buy a house, have kids or even get a dog I can’t do because of my disability and it makes me sad sometimes because I want to do some of these things. I may not have the same responsibilities that a lot of people have but most people don’t have a disability to worry or face any significant challenges that impact their entire life. My life overall is pretty good but there are times when my disability does get frustrating and that sometimes causes me to become depressed or anxious!
It’s just sadness- Despite what you believe about depression it’s not just sadness but is an actual mental health disorder that sometimes can be serious and needs treatment by a mental health professional. Depression goes beyond just being sad and many people don’t see a purpose in life which can make them suicidal so unless someone stops them they might try and take their own life because they might feel no one they have no one care about them or this is no purpose being on this earth. You will feel worthless when you are depressed and unless someone can help you see that you are not then it can get dangerous very quickly! If your friend is struggling and needs help it’s important you encourage them to get it and don’t just tell them it’s just sadness. People want to have their loved one’s approval and when you have this vibe that you think therapy is a sign of failure or weakness and you don’t approve of it then your loved ones will hide their depression from you to maintain your relationship so you don’t think anything less of them.
I get sad too sometimes- Everyone occasionally gets the case of the blues from time to time but if you only occasionally get sad sometimes you probably aren’t depressed and can’t compare it to what it is like to actually have depression. People with depression have a constant battle with it and it’s not something we just face a couple times a year but sometimes several times a week or even every day. Sadness is not the same as depression because when you are depressed you feel worthless and don’t see the purpose in life whereas when you have the blues you do because this feeling is temporary and you get over it. You don’t get over it with depression you learn to cope with it and if you can’t you speak with a mental health professional to help you cope but you don’t just move on. It’s always going to be there even when you are smiling and it looks like you have a wonderful life. Some days are easier than others and some people hide it really well while others are not but it hurts so the most you can do in these situations is be supportive because people with depression need you!
Have you tried Yoga?- Apparently, Yoga is the cure for everything and if you do Yoga all your problems will go away! Anxiety and depression, chronic pain, or chronic illness and all forms of disability can be cured by Yoga according to society. Exercise increase endorphins which will make you happier and give you energy so it has been proven that Yoga can help with depression in some people. The problem is people are too quick to suggest exercise without realizing that not everyone will benefit from it and some people can’t do it at all or get so depressed they can barely get out of bed or even motivate themselves to do a five minutes routine. Yoga can help some people with depression but it is not the cure and for some disabled people or chronic pain sufferers yoga might not even be possible. Hitting the gym can help blow off some steam and decrease your depression or anxiety but for some people, this is not an option because of a disability. You should always encourage an active healthy lifestyle but never should you tell someone who is depressed to hit the gym because they might not be able to and offering that suggestion is only going to make someone mad.
Have you tried meditation?- Meditation has been proven to help with depression and anxiety by focusing on mindfulness and your breath but it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Practicing meditation can help teach you how to react to stress and anxiety but for some people like me it just drives them crazy and gives no benefits. I personally tried meditation and didn’t last five minutes because I just can’t get into mindfulness exercises and two minutes in I didn’t know what to think about so I got bored. Meditation can be extremely beneficial and you shouldn’t knock until you try it but it won’t be for everyone and some people it might drive them crazy and give them no benefits! If it helps you then great do it but if not then find something else that you can do instead of meditation to help ease your depression.
Let me pray for you- As a Christian, prayer gets me through depression and I truly believe in the power of prayer but some people do not, and whenever you suggest prayer they just roll their eyes. I encourage prayer but I don’t think it should be forced on someone because it can be harmful to that person and it won’t be benefitted them if they never want to do it again. Many people who have depression find this annoying and have negative feelings about prayer because it has been done to them one too many times. If you want to have a positive impact on someone and help change their life then just be the example and eventually, it will rub off on them and they will want to know how they can change. Forcing things on people will never teach anything or make people want to change and all that will do is teach them how to avoid you!
Just think positive- Depression is not caused by being too negative but is a mental health disorder that a lot people struggle with and it’s not that simple for some people to just think positive. Some people with depression are positive but some are not and need professional help because they don’t see anything positive about their life. You can’t just tell someone with depression to think positive because some people have a really difficult time doing that and can’t!
Sometimes when you give advice to people that are depressed you may have every good intention but it can be taken as rude or insensitive. You don’t need to have depression yourself to help someone through it as long as you are sensitive about how you talk and don’t try and relate occasional sadness and depression because they are not the same thing. Occasional sadness you can get over in a short period of time but depression often needs to be treated by a mental health professional and you will not just get over it in an hour but you will constantly battle with it. Some people who are mildly depressed can ignore these insensitive remarks and understand that some people just don’t get it while others with more severe depression will take this more personally and have more anxiety because of it. If you don’t know the right thing to say to someone with depression then don’t say anything at all because that is always better than saying something insensitive that could hurt someone’s feelings or put them over the edge. If you have depression what have people said to you that was insensitive and probably shouldn’t have been said? If you liked this post or have any questions about what you should or shouldn’t say to someone with depression please let me know in the comments below.