As many of you know, my dear blogging friend Rachael (who I am guest posting over on today. Go take a look!) and myself, and millions of others in America deal with Depression on a daily basis. I was diagnosed with depression when I was 14 years old so this is something that I am completely aware of. I have dealt with, lived with, suffered through for many years. It is not something that defines me or makes me less of a person. It is simply one of the trials in my life. And so it is with many other people. So often, when people hear about this "thing" that I have, they instantly go into panic mode. They don't know what to say or do or not say or not do. I have been told some pretty ugly and stupid things. But that's okay, because people can be ugly and stupid :) So I want to help you homies out of some things not to say to someone who has Depression. Because, well, let's face it, we all know someone who has struggled with it.
1. "Well just snap out of it."
Yea…believe me. I wish I could. You think I like feeling grumpy and tired and anxious and sad and apathetic at some points? No. I'm working on it.
2. "Stop being so emotional."
This is something that my family, friends and people around have me said (maybe not exactly like that, but in some form or another). Emotions is where I struggle. I don't want to always be so emotional, but it is the way I process and get through things.
3. "There’s always someone worse off than you are."
What to say instead: You're not alone in this. I am here for you. I can't imagine how hard this must be. People with depression understand logically that there is someone worse off than they are--but their brain doesn't work like that.
4. "Well, life isn't fair."
Oh, really? Wow. I didn't know that.
Try saying this instead: You are important to me and I love you.
5. "Stop feeling sorry for yourself."
Try giving them a hug instead.
6. "Oh, you're depressed. What's new."
Try: "You are not going crazy This is just a low point. It will get better."
7. "Stop being a victim."
What you should say: When this is all over and you get through this, I will be here for you.
8. "Believe me, I know how you feel. I was depressed once for several days."
Don't try to understand how they feel--that's not going to make them feel better about themselves. This is something they have been dealing with for many months, years, etc. A few days or a small increment of time is not going to help them feel empathy.
9. "Think of someone else."
People's minds with depression don't think like that. They are not trying to be self absorbed or selfish.
10. "Well, have you prayed?"
Of course I have! But sometimes, even through prayer, you are going to have sad days. Knowing God is there is helpful, but asking them if they have prayed is just another reminder.