There is still a lot of misconception in people’s minds about depression. When someone has been diagnosed with clinical depression, it’s usually because of certain chemical and neurological imbalance in their brain. Like many other illnesses or chronic conditions, depression has no cure and the person just has to find ways to manage it the best they can. If you have a friend or a family member who suffers from depression, you should be cautious about what you say to them. It’s difficult to understand what a person feels when they are depressed. So, be careful about saying these 10 things.
1. Try Thinking Positive
Clinical depression is not just a psychological problem. Studies show that mental health problems like depression are caused by electrical and chemical imbalances in the brain. A person suffering depression is not really in control of how they feel. Thinking about positive thoughts is not going to make depression go away. Alternatively, tell them how difficult it must be not to be able to feel positive even if they want to. By acknowledging your friend’s depression, you show them that you take them seriously.
2. I Know How You Feel
If you’re talking to someone who is going through a depressed state, this statement will sound very patronizing to them. Feeling depressed as a healthy person and suffering from clinical depression are two very different things. Clinical depression is not just a small phase; it can sometimes last for months or even years. Instead, empathize by stating that you have also been depressed sometimes which felt awful and you can’t begin to imagine how difficult it must be for them.
3. It’s Your Own Fault
Would you tell someone suffering from a fever that it’s their fault? It’s the same with someone suffering from depression. They have no control over how they feel and scientists are now discovering that mood disorders are a result of both social factors and genetic predisposition. Instead of accusing the person, tell them how brave they for continuing to fight.
4. Why Don’t You Change Your Lifestyle
Don’t make an attempt to blame your friend’s lifestyle for their condition. While a person’s lifestyle can affect their mood, a person suffering from depression can become depressed regardless of external situations. Discussing life choices is a good idea when your friend is feeling better. However, if your friend is in a depressed state, the best you can do is be a pillar of support. Once they are feeling better, you can always talk about what steps can be taken to deal with their depression in the best possible way.
5. It Will Pass
It’s never a good idea to tell someone who is depressed that things will just pass. Depression is not a phase; it is a medical condition that needs to managed with courage. Even if you’re not sure that your friend has clinical depression or not, talk to them about seeking medical help and encourage them to be brave.
6. Depression Is Better Than…
Not everyone experiences a given situation in the same way. You might find solace in the fact that your particular situation is better than someone else you know. But when you tell a depressed person that their medical condition is better than some of the things other people are suffering, you’re basically making the person feel that their illness is made up. Instead, show some concern and tell them you understand that it must be tough for them.
7. Have You Tried Exercise?
Yes, exercising releases endorphin which makes you feel good but it’s not really a solution for depression. Exercising is a great way to maintain health but it’s not a cure for a preexisting medical condition. Depression needs medical treatment which involves therapy and, in some cases, medication. Instead of suggesting exercise as a solution, invite your friend to join you for a walk or jog every day.
8. You’re Worrying Over Nothing
People suffering from depression swing to extremes when it comes to emotions. When you tell them that their problems are not important enough, they may feel cornered which can worsen the situation. Though you think someone’s problems are not as big, it does not alter how the person going through it feels. Instead, let them know you understand and just be a non-judgmental listener if the person wants to vent.
9. Be Grateful
A person with depression is not just feeling low; they’re going through an illness that’s affecting how they feel and experience life. While gratitude is a powerful way of developing a positive outlook, a person going through depression is not depressed because they are not grateful. Show empathy to your friend by telling them how terrible it must be to no have control over how they feel. Offer support in whatever way you can.
10. No One Said Life Was Going To Be Easy
When you make this statement, you’re assuming that your friend who is suffering has control over what’s happening in his brain. Your friend has probably told himself this very same line many times, and when you state it again, you’re sending them down a negative spiral. Instead, tell them that life can be especially tough for people with depression and you’re there to help in case your friend needs it.