It’s tough enough to deal with depression on your own, but when you have friends and family who constantly make it worse, it can be almost impossible to get better.
The effects of depression can be both physical and mental, and it’s important to know how best to support someone who is dealing with it. It may be tempting to say things that may sound supportive or comforting, but these 10 phrases are never appropriate when talking to someone who is depressed.
Here are 10 Things You Should Never Say To A Friend Who’s Depressed:
“I’m sure you’ll be fine”
Depression is a mental illness that needs to be treated. Even if you’re trying to be reassuring, it can have the opposite effect when someone is already struggling with these issues. When someone is depressed, it can seem like they’ll get over it in no time at all.
It’s important to realize that even if a friend seems okay on the outside, depression doesn’t just go away. Healthy eating and sleeping habits, practicing good self-care, and being patient with yourself are important when dealing with depression.
“I’m sick of hearing about your problems”
Be supportive and let them know you’re there for them. This is very important if someone has opened up to you about their depression. Your friend needs all the support they can get, so make sure they know they can turn to you and that your feelings aren’t hurt by their struggles.
Even if it feels like a burden sometimes, having someone listen to you talk about your problems is important because it helps ease some of the pain felt.
“This is all in your head”
All mental illnesses are in your head, that’s precisely how they work. Depression is not just sadness; it’s an illness that impacts the way people think, act and feel about themselves.
There’s no one cause for depression but it often runs in families as a result of multiple factors such as genetics and environmental triggers like alcohol or drug use, death of a loved one, financial struggles, or anxiety disorders.
“You just need to put yourself out there more”
Depression isn’t something that someone can easily get over. For some people, putting oneself out there can be difficult when feeling depressed. Depression is a mental illness and it’s important to remember not to take advice from someone who doesn’t know much about the illness.
Depression affects people differently and it’s not something that’s easily solved by doing a few simple things like going out more or having a better attitude. Instead, find out what works for your friend and encourage them to do those things if they feel up to it.
“You should eat better”
People who struggle with depression often neglect their health because they don’t feel like doing anything at all. Eating better and exercising is important but it doesn’t cure an illness; it can make symptoms worse for people who suffer from depression and other mental illnesses.
If someone has opened up to you about their struggles, be supportive and encourage them to find a doctor if they’re not already seeing one.
“You don’t seem depressed at all”
Someone who’s dealing with depression may be able to hide their symptoms from others, especially people who don’t know them very well or only see them every once in a while. If someone has opened up to you about their struggles, it means that you’re a close friend and they trust you.
Try to understand what your friend is going through and remember that depression can be both mental and physical so their symptoms might not always be obvious.
“You should stop feeling sorry for yourself”
Being depressed doesn’t mean that someone is feeling sorry for themselves, it means they are struggling with their mental health. It’s important to remember not to tell someone what they should be doing when dealing with an illness. No one would ever say the same thing to someone who has cancer or another physical illness, so there’s no need to treat depression any differently.
Instead of trying to fix them, try encouraging them and letting them know you’re here for them if they want to talk about anything.
“You’re being selfish”
When someone has depression, it’s not because they’re trying to get attention. Depression is an illness that impacts the way people act and think about themselves for no apparent reason. It can be difficult to understand why someone would want to give up on things that are important to them when you don’t have this experience but your friend needs all the support they can get for them to feel better again.
Depression takes over everything, so your friend might not be able to take the initiative or think about what they can do for themselves.
“You don’t need medication”
If someone has opened up to you about their struggles with depression, it’s because they trust you enough to confide in you. It means that they want your support and to have an outlet where they can talk about their illness without judgment.
People who are against taking medication may infer that you should feel ashamed for being depressed or see it as a weakness. Not everyone experiences life in the same way so it’s important to keep an open mind when talking about mental health issues with your friends.
“Why are you letting this get in the way of/ stop you from/ ruin your chances at?”
This phrase is particularly hurtful because it implies that depression is something that can be easily overcome. If someone has opened up to you about their struggles with depression, they want to talk about it and don’t want you to tell them what they should or shouldn’t do. Remember that depression isn’t something that goes away in a few days and think about how you would feel if the roles were reversed.
Asking your friend questions like “How are feeling today?” instead of making statements regarding their illness is always better. This way, your friend will know that you’re there for them and willing to listen without judgment. It shows that you care because asking questions means caring enough to listen.
In the end, you never know what someone is going through so it’s important to remember to be kind and supportive no matter what. One of the best ways to show your support is by being a friend to them instead of making judgment calls or being critical about their choices.
If they’ve opened up to you then that means they trust you enough to give you a glimpse into their difficult life and want your support more than anything else. Don’t push them away because they need a friend just as much as anyone else does, especially when someone has depression.