Depression. It’s a difficult topic to think about, let alone to discuss with someone you don’t know.
Families and friends may not know how to help you. You don’t even know how to help yourself. According to Psych Central, when someone you know is facing depression, there are a few things you shouldn’t say.
1. “Try not to be so depressed.”
I’m just throwing this out there, but most people probably would not choose to be depressed.
2. “Aren’t you always depressed?”
Just because someone is sad doesn’t mean that they have depression. By telling someone with depression that they’re always depressed, you make them feel like they’re a nuisance.
3. “Stop feeling sorry for yourself.”
This is trivializing depression. Someone who is depressed doesn’t have control over their illness.
4. “There’s always someone worse off than you.”
I promise that the person who is depressed recognizes that they’re not the only person suffering in the world. However, this isn’t a helpful comment. Platitudes don’t cure depression.
5. “Life is unfair.”
Again, your friend or family member suffering from depression probably recognizes this. They don’t need your reminder.
6. “I know how you feel.”
Unless you really know how they feel, meaning you’ve been in their place, suffering from depression before, don’t say this.
7. “Stop being a baby.”
Depression is a real, scary problem. If someone facing depression cries or is unhappy, don’t call them a baby. Comfort them.
Helping someone to cope with depression isn’t an easy task. However, it’s important to be supportive and show compassion for your friend or family member who is facing depression.
Written by: Emily Brungard
This story originally appeared in Facing Depression in Muncie, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by the Ingelhart Scholars at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.