With mental health becoming a huge topic of discussion in media recently, we’re learning to be more aware to those around us. But what do we say to those who are experiencing the pain and frustration? There are no such magic words to make the haze lift, but there are the typical string of words that pop out of our mouths when we hear their thoughts. Knowing someone with depression makes us ache because we want to help but unfortunately the things we say can become cliché and aren’t so easily digested. Here are the reasons as to why that might not be as effective as you believe. Have you said these?
1. “It will get better with time”
The thought of having to go through the emotional squeeze for God knows how long doesn’t give us a bit of comfort. We want to feel better now, not a few months or a few years down the road. It doesn’t seem like a plausible option for us.
2. “Do it for Y-O-U”
Don’t work hard to please anyone else but yourself they said. It won’t make you happy in the end they said. It’s tough to even wake up and want to eat something.
3. “There are a million fish in the sea”
If it was heartbreak that triggered the depression, telling them that there will be another boy, another girl down the road doesn’t help because we all know how hard it is to find someone special. The worst part is we found that person already and they left. We want them back, not someone else. Getting your heart broken in a million little pieces makes us stronger for several reasons such as here.
4. “People have it worse than you”
Guilt-tripping doesn’t work. Knowing that other people are suffering too isn’t too helpful. Misery doesn’t love company in this case.
5. “Suck it up”
Worst. Worst. Worst thing ever to say. We would love to “suck it up” or “be a man” and get over this obstacle but it’s not that easy. Some people are genetically built to undergo depression more easily than others.
6. “You’re stronger than this”
At this moment and at this stage, I don’t feel strong. I feel incredibly weak and hollow. Sometimes we don’t even know what we’re fighting against, how can we be stronger than an invisible opponent?
7. “It’s all in your head”
I guess it is, so what should I do now? My emotions aren’t a switch that can easily be turned off. I don’t want to feel the haze, I don’t want to experience the darkness and void but I can’t trick my mind into being happy.
8. “You’re only [value here]!”
Yes, I know I’m still young but I don’t feel young. I feel old and like I wasted so much time I can’t get back. I feel as though I’m no where in life and I have nothing to offer. I feel like a burden. I want all these things in life but I don’t know where to start and how to get them.
9. “I understand what you’re going through”
Hmm, I doubt that but honestly thanks for trying. Unless you’ve gone through the exact same scenarios and you share my genes, you can’t possibly feel the same way I do but it’s kinda comforting knowing someone else has felt emotional wreckage and gotten past it.
10. Don’t do anything stupid
You mean well and it’s completely understandable that you’re at loss for words sometimes. The best you can offer is your presence and the comfort it provides to the person you care about. Ensure you get rid of triggers and stay in a healthy positive space. Let someone know they’re struggling and look to professionals for a second opinion. You don’t have to do it alone.
Do you know someone who’s depressed?
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