Nobody likes seeing their friend struggle with depression. Even with good intentions, some common sayings and advice can cause more harm than good. Having said that, here are five things you shouldn’t say to a friend with depression!
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5. “It’s all in your head.”
Being dismissive of someone’s depression is not going to make their depression any better. In almost every case, it makes it worse. While depression is altering their mind and how they perceive things, this phrase will make the person feel attacked. Moreover, it can also make them more reluctant to share their feelings and reach out.
Instead, you should listen to what they have to say and be more supportive. While you may not be able to relate to them, you can at least try to understand or hear them out. You can even try giving them a ring like an anxiety ring or friendship rings to remind them they’re strong despite their struggles.
4. “What do you have to be depressed about?”
When a friend expresses their depression, avoid comparing their pain to anyone else. While, yes, it may be technically true that other people do have it worse; saying this fact out loud will not help anyone.
Regardless of what event you or someone else may be going through, your friend is still depressed. Other people’s experiences don’t make their emotional pain any better. Saying this will only make them feel ashamed of their feelings. Instead, you should aim to ensure them that what they’re feeling is valid.
3. “You don’t look depressed.”
Expressing your disbelief will not help anyone. Someone can look put together and have a pretty successful life and still be severely depressed. How someone looks on the outside has nothing to do with what they feel like on the inside. Saying this will just make them feel guilty, embarrassed, or confused. Rather, try to listen to them and offer as much support as you can.
2. “You’re thinking about yourself too much”
Shame is a common feeling of someone who struggles with depression. In fact, many people have a hard time admitting they have depression because they don’t want to seem selfish or dramatic. So, dismissing your friend’s depression as selfishness will likely make them feel worse. Instead, you can ask them if there is anything you can do to help them and just try to understand them.
1. “It could be worse.”
You can’t control depression, so saying this to someone with depression will only make them feel worse about something they can’t control. While their depression and life could be technically worse, saying that is not going to improve their depression. After that, they will just feel more guilt and shame. Rather, let them know that you want to support and understand them as much as possible.
While you may have good intentions, some common sayings should be avoided at all costs when you have a friend with depression. Moreover, just try to listen to them and be understanding.