Last year, my brother went through the most difficult time of his life. He struggled with depression. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there when that initial panic attack hit him and made him more conscious of everything around him.
And from what he told me, that moment of solitude, of having no one around him was just another trigger that caused chaos inside his mind and forced him to relive his past childhood traumas.
He went through a long period of suffering and self-contemplation. I was constantly there for him, trying to help him open up and reach out for help. Trying to convince him that it’s just a phase and it will all eventually pass.
Something that a person who never had depression would say. And also, something that a person with depression would never want to hear.
I hate myself for not knowing how to be there for him. But here I am, trying to make things right and help the ones who are suffering from this horrible disorder.
Depression is not a joke, people. Depression is a real mental disorder that has the power to paralyze us, isolate us from the world and force us to harm ourselves. It is not a phase. And it does not go away as a hangover. Depression needs proper treatment, but more importantly, it requires the utmost support and care from our loved ones.
Here are 8 things you should never say to someone with depression:
1. “IT’S ALL IN YOUR MIND”
That is true. It is in their minds. But these people never chose to feel this way. Their mind is playing tricks on them. It is enough that they are sabotaging themselves. Why would you want to do the same to them?
Not acknowledging their mental condition and accusing them of making things up is not going to help them. It will only create a divide between you and them.
2. “WILL YOU STOP IT ALREADY?”
Don’t you think that if they could stop it on their own, they would probably do it?
This statement is the worst and the most inconsiderate thing you could say to a person with a mental disorder. Because knowing that you do not trust them is only making them feel even more anxious and lonely. And trust me, no one wants to be a burden.
3. “I THINK YOU ARE TOUGHER THAN THIS”
Saying this to someone who suffers from depression is the same as bullying them. And usually, the ones who dare to utter such hurtful words are people who desperately try to avoid their own personal emotional baggage.
4. “LIFE IS HARD, YOU HAVE TO SUCK IT UP”
It’s true. Life is nothing but a battle. And it can get pretty nasty out there. But, why would you want to make life even harder for someone who is depressed?
Saying this to a person shows that you don’t believe in their words. That you don’t consider their condition as something that should be treated. That their disturbing feelings of melancholy and sadness are not real.
5. “GROW UP”
This statement shows just how insensitive and heartless people sometimes are. The truth is, depression can hit you at any time. It won’t wait for a certain moment and it certainly won’t notify you.
That means that it could most likely hit you just like it hit your loved one. Try to put yourself in such, hopeless, miserable and confused state of mind. How would you feel if someone refused to acknowledge your pain and said that you need to ‘grow up’?
6. “YOU HAVE TO BE MORE POSITIVE”
Enough with the fake positivity. I’m sick and tired of seeing you preach about “positive vibes only” when you know too damn well that reality doesn’t work that way.
Stop making people feel bad about themselves. Life is not just about rainbows and pink skies. Life is also about darkness. And when this darkness comes, the only thing we can do is to accept it, feel it, let it teach us what we need to understand and then move on.
7. “YOU SHOULD LEARN FROM YOUR PAST MISTAKES”
Apparently, some people believe that if you point out someone’s flaws and criticize them the worst way possible, they would immediately change things for the better.
But what if those things were not completely in their control? What if depression hurt them so bad that it literally made them feel like the most miserable and hopeless human beings alive?
8. “THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU”
If you haven’t had depression, then you cannot even begin to understand what it feels like to be inside these people’s minds 24 hours a day. Let alone, make a conclusion whether they are fine or not.
If you don’t have anything nice to say to them, just be there and try to listen to everything they say. Don’t reply. Don’t share your opinion. Don’t say anything of the above.
Just hold their hand and let them know that whatever they’re going through, they can always count on you. The storm won’t last forever. That I know for sure.