It’s hard to know what to say to a person who is suffering with depression. What you say can either cause people to fall deep down the hole of darkness or help them feel a little better. So many people say the wrong thing. They may not realize how detrimental their words are to a person who is sick. People may even make comments because they really don’t understand what depression is.
Here is a list of the wrong things to say to a person with depression:
- It’s All In Your Head. Depression is not imagined or faked. It’s very real. The sadness the person feels is not pretend. He or she is actually feeling that way. The person has a real illness due to a chemical imbalance in the brain.
- Think Happy Thoughts. A person with depression can’t just think about something happy and his or her depression will disappear. It’s not that easy. If it were there would be no need for anti-depressants, therapists, and psychiatrists. As a matter of fact, many who are sick find it hard to think of happy things. It takes a combination of therapy, hard work, and medication to learn to find the good things about life.
- Snap Out Of It. A person who is ill can’t just snap her or his fingers and the sadness disappears. It’s not that easy. When a person is crying and feeling hopeless, she or he can’t just pull him or herself out of it. Depression is an illness, and like any illness, it takes treatments such as therapy and medication to help a person see the light. Snapping out of it is impossible. You can’t just snap a person out of cancer and you can’t snap a person out of depression.
- Grow Up. The sadness, crying-out breaks, and hopeless thinking are not a sign of immaturity. It has nothing to do with acting like a baby. They are part of a serious illness and should not be taken lightly. It’s not a matter of growing up. Even mature adults of all ages can have depression. It’s not immaturity; it’s an illness that’s out of the person’s control.
- What Do You Have To Be Depressed About? So many think in order for someone to be deeply saddened they have to have a reason like horrible parents, an awful job, bad relationships, or so on, but that’s not true. People with depression often don’t even know why they are feeling down. They just are. You can have the best life ever and still be depressed. Why? Because it’s an illness of the brain; chemicals in the brain are not working properly.
- If You Trust In God Or Read The Bible You’ll Be Cured. God does work miracles, but sometimes he allows us to go through rough things for a reason. A person with depression will not be magically cured by reading the Bible and praying to God. I’m not saying God and the Bible won’t help because they will, but they won’t make a person’s illness magically disappear. God will stand beside the person, he will guide him or her, he will open doors for the person, and much more. God gives those suffering with depression the tools to help him or herself. The Bible will give a person comfort, insight, and strength, but it won’t cure him or her. I’m not saying miracles can’t happen, but God also gives us tools to help ourselves. If you happen to receive a miracle, then thank God.
- IT’S YOUR OWN FAULT. The person struggling with depression did nothing wrong to get this sickness. They did not make a mistake, nor did something on purpose to make him or her sad. No illness is a person’s own fault. You don’t tell someone with multiple sclerosis it’s his or her fault. It’s a sickness. No one is at fault.
When a person is depressed, saying the right thing is very important because what you say can either hurt or help a person. Pick your words carefully and make sure you understand what depression is. Understanding depression can help you help someone fighting depression. Saying the wrong thing can push the person struggling down, but saying the right thing can bring comfort, renewed strength and hope.
When I was struggling, many people said the wrong things to me and dragged me down and it hurt. The people who chose their words carefully made a big difference in my recovery process. My friends and families carefully picked sayings that helped me fight harder, that brought me comfort, and that lifted me up. The right things said is what helped me stand proudly in the light.
Keep reading for a future post on the right things to say to someone who is struggling with depression.