At one point in our lives, we will have encountered someone who is suffering from depression whether it be a coworker or perhaps even a family member. Many of us do not understand depression nor do we understand the seriousness of it. We think, this person is just sad, but it's more than that. Much more than that.
When we do come across someone with depression our first reaction is to want to hug them and then offer, what we think are, words of encouragement. We want to lift their spirits, make them smile, take their pain away. It's not as simple as it sounds. Depression is a very complex condition to deal with, for many. So what are we supposed to say to them? How do we cheer them up? In an effort to try to make them happy we sometimes miserably fail without even realizing it. Below is a list of some of things you should probably never say to anyone who does suffer with depression.
They probably will be, you're right. Right now things aren't ok. Things suck. This isn't anything that is going to give them hope. They don't even care if things are going to be ok. All they care about is the fact that at this moment, things are not ok. Depressed people don't look into the future to see roses and butterflies.
2. It's not that bad.
Yes, it is. It is very bad. It is so bad that they probably have thought of taking their own life once or twice in the past week. Yes, things are that bad. In their mind, maybe not yours. You aren't in their mind. You have no idea how bad things are.
3. Lighten up.
If it was only that easy. They would love to lighten up. They would love to be just as happy and cheery as you are. They don't want to have to deal with the torment going on their minds right now. They can't lighten up. They don't even know what that means or how to do it.
4. You're upset for nothing.
To you, it's nothing. To them, it feels like the end of the world. The worst possible thing ever. What you think is nothing or easy to deal with, is a mountain to them. Something they are not sure how to get over or if they even ever will. It's not nothing. It's a catastrophe.
5. Just think happy thoughts.
Well if that's all it took then they wouldn't suffer from depression. They don't know how to control their thoughts to turn them into happy positive thoughts. They wished it was that easy. Many depressed people need medication to do that.
6. Have you tried … ?
Tried what? The newest and latest self help craze on the internet? The latest herb or tincture? Maybe even rubbing their feet at night with some potion that is sure to rid them of any and all negative thoughts? No they probably haven't, nor do they want to. If you aren't a doctor or specialist, you should probably keep your suggestions to yourself. A depressed person probably won't take your advice anyway.
7. I know how you feel.
Really? Do you? How so? No you don't. You have no clue how a depressed thinks or feels or what's going on in their minds right now. We all think and feel differently, whether you are depressed or not, so telling them you know, is just plain ridiculous. No you don't.
8. Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
They aren't feeling sorry for themselves. Their mind is in a state of turmoil right now and it has spiralled out of control. They don't know how to deal with this sorry state they are feeling. It's not that they feel sorry for themselves, they are just sad and want someone to help them, really.
9. Some people are worse off than you.
Yes, some people probably are. They know there are others who have a really bad life. They get that. That's not the problem right now. They don't really want to hear about the others who have a worse life. That isn't going to make them feel better. Their life is horrible right now, and that's all that is important, at this very moment.
10. Think of all the good things you have.
Yes, they do have lots of good things. They know that. When they are happy and not in a depressed state, they are very grateful for all the blessings in their life, but when they are not happy, all that means nothing. There is nothing to be grateful for and they aren't up for counting any blessings.
Depression isn't anything to take lightly and can't be cured by a simple kind and loving statement. If you know someone who you think might be depressed, try to be there when they need you even if only with a hug and an ear.