In a previous post I wrote about all the wrong things to say to someone suffering with depression, and in this post I want to talk about the right things to say. What you say to a person struggling with depression can make a big difference. It can make the person feel loved, uplifted, encouraged, and cared for. The words you say can help him or her decide to strive for recovery and to keep fighting. The person fighting depression needs support and kindness.
Here are a few things you can say that will help out a person with depression:
- I’m Here For You. Those four words can make a big difference in a person’s life. When a woman or man is struggling with this illness, he or she feels all alone and like a burden. Telling him or her that you’re there for the person lets him or her know she or he is not alone. Someone cares.
- How Can I Help? Being willing to help the best you can is important to a person with depression. He or she needs to know someone cares enough to help when it is necessary. It’s good to know that there is a person out there willing to help even if it’s just a shoulder to cry on.
- You Are Important and Your Life is Important. Many who face depression feel worthless and feel like their lives are a mistake. They can become suicidal and feel that everyone will be better off if they’re gone. Knowing he or she is important to just one person out there means the world, and knowing that someone thinks his or her life is important may help them want to keep living. Your words can help a person struggling reconsider suicide.
- Have You Told Your Doctor/Therapist How You Feel? Being a friend and helping when you can is important, but you’re not a professional. It’s important to remind the one fighting this illness that he or she needs to tell the doctor or therapist how he or she feels so he or she can get the proper treatment. Encouraging a person to seek treatment is crucial in the battle to reach recovery. Knowing there are people out their trained to help gives the person hope.
- Recovery Isn’t Easy, But It’s Possible. The person struggling often feels like he or she is stuck in the dark hole forever. He or she can’t see the light beyond the darkness. Encouraging the person that there is a possibility for recovery gives him or her hope. It’s also important that he or she knows it’s not easy, but it’s worth the fight. Even though he or she finds it hard to believe recovery is possible, keep reminding him or her it is possible. Inspire the person to work hard, because there is a life above the hole within the light.
- God Didn’t Make a Mistake Making You. Depressed people often feels like their lives and very beings are a mistake. Telling him or her that he or she is not a mistake gives them a reason for their existence. Let the person know he or she was made for a purpose. Tell him or her God doesn’t make mistakes. Let him or her know that even though things are tough, God will get him or her through it.
- It’s Ok to Feel That Way. Many who are sick hide their feelings and feel as if their feelings are inappropriate. Let them know that their feelings are okay. It’s not a sin or horrible thing to feel depressed. Let them know they have no reason to be ashamed to feel so many emotions. By doing this you are letting them know you recognize their feelings and know that they are real and important. Just knowing that means the world to the sick person, because he or she often feels his or her feelings are not valid.
Remember, words make a big impact on people and what you say can make a difference. If you really want to help a person struggling with depression, then make sure you say the right things. Saying the right thing will help your friend or loved one know you are there for him or her and you’re willing to support him or her. Encouraging words mean the world to a person stuck at the bottom of the hole and it may help him or her move closer to recovery.
I have wonderful friends, family and a husband who seem to know what to say when I’m at my darkest. Their words lifted me up into the light.