20 things depressed people don't want to hear

When a loved one is struggling with depression, communicating appropriate messages can be challenging. Here are 10 unhelpful things depressed people don't need to hear and 10 things they may not want to hear but which could benefit them.

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  • As cases of clinical depression continue to rise, it is likely that you or someone you know is facing this challenging disease. Knowing what to do and say can feel like walking a tightrope for everyone involved. Throughout my own struggle with clinical depression, dozens of well-meaning people have had myriad comments and suggestions. Unfortunately, sometimes the messages were more hurtful than helpful.

  • When people are depressed, the negative voices in their head are often so loud that they don’t want to hear much of anything. Here are 10 unhelpful things depressed people don’t need to hear and 10 helpful comments they may not want to hear but which could benefit them.

  • 10 unhelpful things depressed people don’t want to hear

  • 10. Dry your tears and do something about it

  • Crying can be a great release and expression of emotion. Bring me a box of tissues and encourage me to let it all out.

  • 9. If I were you, I would ..

  • Unfortunately, you are not me and cannot know of my capabilities, thought processes or emotional state. I need your understanding more than I need your advice.

  • 8. This happened because ..

  • Even the best medical experts cannot fully explain the workings of the brain and the exact reasons for depression. Please leave the explanations to doctors and to God.

  • 7. This is just a phase. It will pass

  • No one knows how long a season of depression will last. It may be weeks and may last a lifetime. Reassure me that you will be with me for as long as it takes.

  • 6. All you need is a positive attitude

  • Depression hampers my spirit and distorts my perspective. Write down positive affirmations about my life and about me so I can lean on your positivity when I can’t find my own.

  • 5. If you had enough faith, you could be healed

  • Faith cannot be measured by any human standard and even the greatest belief may not provide the desired cure. Bolster the faith I do have and exercise your faith in my behalf.

  • 4. Buck up, little camper

  • Depression is an illness like diabetes or cancer that affects my ability to function normally. Encourage me to seek medical help when necessary instead of insisting that I bravely carry on alone.

  • 3. What can I do to fix this?

  • There is very little even the best caregiver can do to patch up the situation and make everything better. Listen to me and love me instead of trying to fix me.

  • 2. It’s all in your mind

  • Exactly! Depression is an illness of the mind, not a figment of my imagination. Validate my condition by educating yourself about the disease.

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  • 1. I know just how you feel

  • No, you don’t. Give me a big hug and keep praying for me because, as the popular folk song says, "Nobody knows the troubles I’ve seen; nobody knows but Jesus."

  • Check out this link to read more on what not to say to a depressed person.

  • 10 helpful things depressed people don’t want to hear but may need to hear

  • 10. Go for a walk around the block

  • Exercise releases endorphins and helps elevate mood. It can also bring a sense of accomplishment and refreshment.

  • 9. Come out of your room and sit on the porch

  • Depressed people often isolate and want to stay in bed. Encourage me to take a first step by changing my environment. Getting fresh air and a little sunshine will supply vitamin D and increase the mood-lifting chemical serotonin.

  • 8. Take a shower

  • When depressed, people often disregard self-care and other healthy activities of daily living. Remind me that getting freshened up and putting on clothes that make me feel good about myself really does help.

  • 7. Seek the help of a doctor or therapist

  • When I can’t shake the blues, feelings of self-loathing, dark thoughts or other disturbing behavior, encourage me to seek professional help. Medications and individual or group therapy can provide much-needed relief and keys to long-lasting recovery.

  • 6. Name three things for which you are grateful

  • It is difficult to be thankful and negative at the same time. Helping me look for blessings and make gratitude lists can change my outlook and give my mind a happier place to dwell.

  • 5. Listen to upbeat music

  • The music people listen to often reflects their mood. Encourage me to elevate my spirits by trying some upbeat tunes, songs that bring joyful memories or music that soothes and calms.

  • 4. Monitor your eating

  • One of the first signs of depression is a change in appetite. Help me evaluate what kinds of food I am craving or avoiding and make a food log. Encourage me to study my eating habits and patterns and then make necessary changes.

  • 3. Write down your thoughts and feelings

  • Writing in a journal is one of the most effective ways to identify beliefs, feelings, fears, and thoughts. Remind me that expressing my emotions on paper helps me experience and evaluate the feelings I may want to ignore but need to face.

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  • 2. Reach out to someone

  • Depression darkens the mind and increases the tendency to engage in and believe negative self-talk and thought patterns. Encourage me to get out of my head by turning to a trusted friend, counselor or religious leader who can help restore my perception and perspective.

  • 1. Nourish your spirit

  • Depression is a mental, emotional and spiritual malady. Help me see that the more spiritually fit I am, the better I will be able to fight the disease. Prayer and meditation can help center my thoughts and assist me in finding a power greater than myself to believe in and trust.

  • Click here to read more about finding hope for those that suffer from depression.

  • Be thoughtful and prayerful in your efforts to help someone struggling with depression. The best message you can give is that you love them unconditionally and will be there to support them.

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Gail Sears is the mother of five children and resides in Georgia. She is an experienced teacher and public speaker with a passion for education and the arts.

 

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