What to Say to Someone with Depression
Sometimes people don't know what to say to someone with depression. Those of us with depression typically have family and friends who want to encourage us; however, all too often we find that even well-meaning people end up saying the very things we don't need to hear. When this happens, it can leave both the person who spoke the words and the person to whom they were spoken feeling quite discouraged and possibly angry or upset. While I'd like it if all people could somehow know what to say to someone with depression, that's not realistic. Instead, we need to give them suggestions and guidelines. I've come up with some things that I would like to hear as someone with depression.
3 Ideas for What to Say to Someone with Depression
I Love You.
First of all, I'd like to hear three simple words: "I love you." Period. No "but . . ." after that. No "in spite of your depression." I don't want to hear that my depression makes me hard to love. I feel that way about myself; I certainly don't need anyone else to make me feel that way. We all deserve to be loved for who we are. Our depression should not -- it does not -- change that.
You Are Strong.
Next, I want to hear that I am strong. I am a warrior. I fight a battle every day. All of us with depression do. We win every time we get out of bed. When we accomplish one task, we've shown depression and the rest of the world that we won't give up. We may get knocked down, but we rise again. Our depression does not make us weak. I don't want others' pity; I want their encouragement.
You've Grown as a Person.
Also, I would like for others to say that I've blossomed and grown as a person. I do not like the negative implication behind the tone and facial expressions when others say that I've "changed." Not all change is bad. I've become a more compassionate and loving person. I am not judgmental and am willing to put myself in others' shoes. Battling depression and suicidal ideation has helped to make me this way. While I don't love the fact that I have depression, I do love the person that I have become.
What's Going on with You (Besides Depression)?
Finally, I would simply like to enjoy some small talk. I wish others would realize that I am not delicate and fragile; I won't break. They don't have to smile at me with pitying looks while I stand there as they talk around me. I would love to hear people talk to me about topics other than my depression. I am still a regular person. I can dish about my favorite shows on Netflix, the book I'm currently reading, or the concert I recently attended. Invite me for coffee. You'll see.
If you have depression, what would you like to hear? Also, if someone has said something that was particularly encouraging to you, I'd like to hear it. Leave some feedback. I love hearing from you.
Smith, J. (2018, January 23). What to Say to Someone with Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, February 2 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2018/01/what-someone-with-depression-needs-to-hear
Author: Jennifer Smith
I don't mention depression anymore. I try to use mindfulness and always keep conversations at a positive level. If I run into someone with depression I usually star with a Hello and 'How are you doing?' I then let them talk, if possible. I never play Dr Phil or tell them to look at the positive things in life. That is just my take.
I am sure they appreciate that. I don't like being analyzed or told to just look at the bright side of things. It's nice to have someone who is willing to listen.