Do You Feel Better Now
Another common statement meant to be empathetic but poses a negative meaning. It suggests their condition should have improved after a supposedly therapeutic action or a conversation. Unfortunately, that is not how it works. Recovery takes time, and their behavior better measures their progress.
Finally, recognize that every individual has unique thoughts and feelings which filter their interaction with others. Depression further heightens the negative perspective of this phenomenon. If your friend, partner, or family member gets upset by your statement, do not take it personally. Endeavor to stay calm and continue offering your love and support in ways they feel comfortable with.
Youre Right This Sucks
The generalization is that men are problem solvers, and women are listeners. People who are depressed dont want problem solvers theyve usually run through all the scenarios and solutions in their head already. They just cant do it.
What theyre looking for instead is simple acknowledgement and empathy.
Others Are Going Through Much Worse
Sometimes the guilt I feel for feeling down is overwhelming because I know so many others out there are dealing with worse. And when I think about all the bad things in the world, it brings me down that much more. Its a weird cycle and I know Im not being completely honest with myself when I respond this way. But its the only way I know how to answer sometimes without just wearing a mask . Its not so much about the answer Im giving the person asking, but rather about telling myself to just suck it up, which works sometimes, but makes me feel like an empty liar at other times. Kristi M.
What To Say Instead: I Will Try My Best To Understand
You may not have experienced depression first hand, but this doesnt mean you cant sympathize or help someone living with it. The best thing my mum ever did was try to understand just how depression made me feel. Never at any point did she make me feel as though I wasnt trying hard to win my battle against mental health, however frustrating I expect it was for her to watch her daughter become a shell of her former self. The only thing she ever did was accept what I was telling her and be there for me. Try to learn, try to educate and try to help someone you love who is suffering.
What To Say Instead: Tell Me More About Whats Going On Help Me Understand
When living with depression, it can be easy to lose sight of who you are. It takes a long time to get to the stage where you stop showering and struggle to get up every morning, but it can be debilitating. When your friends or loved ones are trying hard to understand how youre feeling, it can go a long way in helping you to feel accepted for this newer version of yourself that depression has caused you to become.
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Let Me Help You Feel Better
This statement is a very general thing to say to someone who is suffering from depression or suicidal feelings. You can say it as it is to let them know that you want to help ease even a little of their pain. You can also attach other statements such as:â¢ Do you need a hug?â¢ I can listen to you.â¢ I will keep you company.
What Do You Need Today
Saying Call me if you need anything is well intended, but ineffective. Someone with depression finds asking for help to be difficult, especially in the very beginning. If you dont know a specific way to help someone with depression, reach out to them by asking What do you need today? and offer assistance in areas such as:
- A hug or listening ear
- Helping with chores or errands
- Time away from the kids
- An exercise partner
Sometimes those with depression cant pinpoint their needs, so look for relevant ways to help.
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What To Say Instead: When All This Is Over Ill Still Be Here And So Will You
Its important for people with depression to believe that the people they care for most will still be there, whether they get better or not. Depression affects people differently, and while some may overcome their battle with mental health, others will struggle with depression throughout their life, so when your family and friends support you no matter how long it takes you to get better, thats precious.
I Need To Go/visit Someplace New/i Want To Travel
Variants of this can sometimes be a sign that Im stuck in a depressive bubble and need an out, even if thats going to a place nearby for a day or two. So far Ive only experienced one person catching on to this, but usually people only respond with, Yeah, I want to go to or something like that. Ole H.
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Do You Want To Talk About It Im Here When Youre Ready
You cant force someone to talk, but knowing youre available can really help them feel supported.
If they havent been forward with you about their depression, you may want to mention youve noticed theyre having a hard time and youre there if they want to talk. If you simply ask Are you OK? they may be used to pretending and reply Im fine.
If theyre not ready to talk now, remind them youre here for them when theyre ready. When theyre having a hard time and need someone to talk to, they may remember your offer and come to you.
Encouraging Phrases To Say To A Person With Depression
Here are some phrases and ideas that might help you support a person you care about who has depression.
When youre using these, it can help to stay mindful of your context. Only say something if it feels like it makes sense in the situation, and always be genuine and keep an open mind.
Listen and be sensitive to the persons cues. If they dont seem receptive, consider trying at a different time or taking a different approach.
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How To Talk To Someone About Depression
Sometimes it is hard to know what to say when speaking to someone about depression. You might fear that if you bring up your worries the person will get angry, feel insulted, or ignore your concerns. You may be unsure what questions to ask or how to be supportive.
If you dont know where to start, the following suggestions may help. But remember that being a compassionate listener is much more important than giving advice. You dont have to try to fix your friend or family member you just have to be a good listener. Often, the simple act of talking face to face can be an enormous help to someone suffering from depression. Encourage the depressed person to talk about their feelings, and be willing to listen without judgment.
Dont expect a single conversation to be the end of it. Depressed people tend to withdraw from others and isolate themselves. You may need to express your concern and willingness to listen over and over again. Be gentle, yet persistent.
I Know Exactly What Youre Going Through
It is a bad idea to say this to a person who is depressed. They may feel as if you are minimizing their experience or that you have no idea what theyre going through because your circumstances were not the same.
It may be better to say things like I really hurt for you to avoid hurting the other persons feelings.
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What You Can Say
For a long time, no one really talked about depression at all. Now were working hard to change that and we need to learn how to talk about depression in the right way. You cant help someone with depression in any meaningful way without talking to them about it. Thats why its so important to have the courage to speak up and find your words.
What Not To Say: You Have Such A Great Life Why Arent You Happy
Let me first explain that depression is never as simple as feeling the opposite of happiness. Depression is feeling numb and living in a void that you feel youll never escape from. What you do or dont have in life doesnt wave a magic wand over your mental health and make it better. In fact, material objects have zero impact on how you feel when living with depression. You could have all the money in the world, a large group of friends and the perfect job, but you can still feel alone and overwhelmed. Insinuating that someone is ungrateful for the life they have when suffering from something they have no control over is selfish. This may cause your friend or loved one to retreat, and stop sharing with you how they feel.
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Youre Not Alone Im With You
Being with someone and reassuring them that theyre not alone is one of the greatest things you can do for a depressed person. And youve got to mean it: if you tell them that theyre not alone, and then you leave to go shopping, they will get the message that your words are just meaningless. But telling them theyre not alone and then showing them, by sitting next to them on the couch, by staying up late with them when theyre crying, by walking with them to appointments or just going for a strollall of that shows that you mean it, and that can have a real impact.
Show Care And Concern
Try saying: “I wanted to drop by because I’m concerned. You seem depressed . Is there anything I can do to help?'” The exact word be it the big D or “not yourself” is not incredibly important, says Talley. What matters is that youre taking a direct approach and expressing concern and care, he explains.
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What Ways Do You Think Of Killing Yourself
This is another risk-assessment question. The answer can help reveal the gravity of the situation. A person who has put a lot of time and thought into suicide methods might be in more danger than someone with a vague wish to be dead, for example.
Understanding the suicide methods that the person has considered also will help you in your efforts to keep the person safe. For example, if youre a parent and your teenage child discloses suicidal thoughts, knowing that your teenager is considering overdosing on a painkiller alerts you to the need to lock up or throw away all potentially dangerous medications.
And If Youre Concerned For Their Safety Say Something
Sometimes particularly when it comes to safety you just have to be direct. “If you are concerned about your depressed friend or loved one’s safety, just ask,” urges Talley. “Explicitly ask if they have thought, or are thinking, about hurting themselves or killing themselves. No, this will not cause someone to consider committing suicide who had otherwise never given it a thought. But it might cause someone who is thinking of suicide to take a different path.”
And while sensitivity is essential throughout these types of conversations, its especially important when touching upon topics such as self-harm and suicide. This is a great time to emphasize how much youre here for them and want to help them feel better.
Remember: Suicidality is just another symptom of depression although, yes, much weightier than say a decreased sense of self-worth. “And while it strikes most people as an odd thought or even an unwanted thought, sometimes depression can get so bad that we just don’t see a life worth living,” says Gilliland. “People are afraid that is going to give someone a idea. I promise you you’re not going to give them an idea you may actually save their life.”
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I Dont Think Youre Crazy
There is still so much stigma around mental health that sufferers often feel marginalised for having a problem. Feeling alone and different from everyone else will only exacerbate the problem, so remind your loved one that although their illness is real, its treatable and doesnt make them any less of a person.
Its Okay To Seek Help
Because of the stigma of mental illness, many people are too ashamed to seek professional help. Some dont know where to turn for help, and others like to solve problems on their own. No matter the reason for hesitance, reassure your loved one that asking for help isnt a sign of weakness or a cause for embarrassment, but rather a form of self-care.
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Would You Be Open To Talk To A Doctor About This
Saying something like this shows you consider their depression a real sickness and shows you care. Because many people believe depression is a fad, a statement such as this can be valid for someone who has the disease. Encourage them to visit a doctor and if they are reluctant, feel free to recommend one to them.
I Dont Understand What Youre Going Through But I Want To Understand
Unless you have been depressed or have felt suicidal, there is no use in telling someone that you understand what they are going through. The person will know that you have little to no idea about what he/she is feeling. Instead, be honest. Let the person know that you donât understand but that you want and will try to.
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Its Not Just What You Say But How You Say It
Sometimes delivery is everything. “People know when things are not genuine we can feel it,” says Westbrook. She emphasizes coming from an open-minded, open-hearted place, which will help ensure that even if you fumble words, the person close to you will feel loved and valued.
And try to see them in person . “The terrible part about COVID-19 is that what may have been necessary to manage a virus is horrendous for humans,” says Gilliland. “The single best thing for humans and our mood is being in relationships with other humans, and that’s face-to-face doing things together, and having conversations that help us think about life differently even just to forget about the pressures of life.”
If you can’t see them in person, he recommends a video call over a call or text. “Zoom is better than texting or emailing I think sometimes it’s better than a normal phone call,” says Gilliland.
That being said, the dos and donts of what to say to someone who’s depressed are the same whether IRL or over the internet.
Instead Say: Could We Get Lunch Sometime/go To A Park/
Try to find low-effort activities that will help get your friend out of the house.
Some ideas include bringing lunch to a park for the two of you to eat or going on a short walk around the neighborhood. No matter what you choose, Bespalova recommends removing pressure by letting your friend know that its OK if they say no or cancel.
And if they do cancel, try not to take it personally. Remember that your friend canceling or saying no to activities isnt a reflection of how much they care about you, its simply the fact that doing activities can be overwhelming and hard when someone is depressed.
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Its Ok To Not Feel Ok
Whether your friend or loved one is currently getting treatment or hasnt received a formal diagnosis, its OK if theyre not OK. Everyone has good and bad days. We all deserve some grace.
Sometimes, they might feel shame if theyre experiencing difficult feelings, so it might help to remind them that its OK to feel that way. Making it safe for them to express and sit with their real feelings in your presence can go a long way.
And just because right now is bad doesnt mean later will be.
What Not To Say: Youre Being Selfish
Its a common misconception that people with depression are selfish, and let me tell you, this is the biggest BS ever. First, I think its vital to remember: depression is not a choice. No one chooses to feel the way they do, and by assuming that people are being intentionally depressed is a very childish approach to a very serious topic. No one with depression is choosing to behave the way they do.
Second, a person that is struggling with depression is probably already being incredibly hard on themselves. During my battle with mental health, I thought very negatively about myself. I would sit in silence, but inside my head, I would be listing all the reasons why suicide was a better option than living. I felt worthless every single day. I felt like a failure. I felt that I was a burden to those around me. I would have hated depression for making me feel that way, but depression doesnt give you room to think rationally. So chances are, the person you know with depression is waging a battle inside their head every single day. Nothing about them having depression is selfish. Mental health is an illness, remember that.
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Tips To Help Someone Who Seems Down
- Let them know you care and are there to listen.
- Accept them as they are, without judging them.
- Gently encourage them to help themselves for example, by staying physically active, eating a balanced diet and doing things they enjoy.
- Get information about the services available to them, such as psychological therapy services or depression support groups in their area.
- Stay in touch with them by messaging, texting, phoning or meeting for coffee. People who are depressed can become isolated and may find it difficult to leave their home.
- Try to be patient.
- Take care of yourself.