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Depression, though becoming very common, we still can’t deny how serious it is as a disorder. Over the past years, more awareness has grown on depression, and it comes as no surprise that we all may know a person or two in our close circle suffering from depression. Depression goes way beyond sadness or having a bad day. In fact, a person struggling with depression may find it hard to cope with their day-to-day life. In dealing with a person fighting depression, there are things that we should and shouldn’t say. While we tend to say things with the purest intention of easing their pain, sometimes the things we say can have a negative impact. These are some of the things we need to avoid saying to anyone fighting their own battle with depression.
1. ‘Cheer Up / Get Over it’
If it were that easy, they might as well have helped themselves. Asking someone just to shake it off and smile as if there’s nothing trivializes their emotional state. A simple task like ‘cheering up’ for people with depression is not easy to do at all.
2. ‘It’s all in your head'’
Such a statement downplays their condition and makes a depressed person doubt the validity of their own emotions and feelings. You may not be able to fully understand what they are going through, but this cannot deny the fact that what they feel is real.
3. ‘It could be worse / Others have it worse than you'
Comparing their suffering to that of others will not ease their pain or make them feel better. In fact, telling a person with depression that someone else is having it worse will make that person feel embarrassed and ashamed of their feelings.
4. ‘Everyone has bad days’
Of course, we all have our bad days, but depression is just not a bad day or a temporary feeling of sadness. A depressed person struggles on a daily basis, and to that person, it is not just ‘a bad day’ that will pass where after it things will get back to normal.
5. ‘Think positively’
And that’s the thing; a depressed mind can’t think positively. No one can deny the power of positive thinking in changing how we feel, but that is not an easy job for someone fighting depression. When you say ‘think positively’ you are unintentionally implying that they are negative and will begin to doubt their thinking patterns and their perceptions.
What You Can Say Instead
• ‘I am sorry you are going through this. I am here to help you.’
• ‘Your feelings are real and your reasons are valid. You shouldn’t feel ashamed of how you feel.’
• ‘I would love to keep you company if this will make you feel better.’
• ‘You will get better with the right help.’
• ‘It’s a tough battle, but I will be happy to see you overcome it.’