Things You Should Never Say To Someone Struggling with Depression
Even though you're trying to help, the things you say to someone with depression could actually do more harm than good.
It’s only natural to want to help a loved one or friend struggling with depression, but some responses could have that person feeling embarrassed or ashamed for asking for help, factually incorrect or even harmful.
Lifehacker has a list of things you should avoid saying to someone with depression:
You always seem happy – Depression doesn’t have a “look”.
Happiness is a choice – People don’t “choose” depression. You wouldn’t tell someone to walk on a broken leg.
This too shall pass – This could leave someone dealing with depression feeling guilty if things “don’t get better.”
Everyone gets down sometimes – It’s dismissive.
You’re being selfish – Clinical therapist Oddesty K, Langham writes “a person dealing with clinical depression is likely having a hard time keeping up with their own personal life.”
Look at how great your life is! – comparisons don’t help ease depression.
Just eat right and exercise! – This comment could come across as condescending; leave it to the professionals.
So, what can you say to help someone struggling with depression?
You can say:
Thank you for telling me.
I’m here if you want to talk.
I love you / You’re important to me / You’re not alone.
Have you spoken to [doctor, therapist, family] about these feelings?
This must be hard for you, but you’re doing the right thing by talking about it.
What can I do to help?
Lifehacker says even if you don’t have the right words, one of the best ways to help a loved one with depression is to simply be there and listen to them.