If you have a friend or loved one that suffers from depression, be it depression alone or the depression side of bipolar disorder, there are a few things you should never say to them. You may have found yourself saying certain things to a depressed person in an effort to be helpful. If you’ve noticed yourself saying things from this list to your depressed loved one, vow to never say them again.
Here is the list of things you shouldn’t say to someone with depression:
1. “Get over it.” or “Snap out of it.” If someone is depressed, especially with clinical depression, they can’t just get over it. With clinical depression, there may be no external reason a person feels down. So telling them to get over it would be futile and just frustrate and sadden them more.
2. “It is all in your mind.” Someone suffering from depression knows it. They do not need you to tell them that their issue is in their mind. If they could control not feeling depressed, they would. While there are ways they can learn to cope with their depression, telling them it’s all in their mind most likely won’t help.
3. “Life isn’t fair.” While life indeed isn’t fair, saying that to someone with depression will not help them feel better. They are focused on how they feel, not the overall broad notion that life isn’t fair.
4. “You’re selfish.” One way to kill any supportive measure you’ve taken so far is to tell a depressed person that they are selfish. Some of their actions in the midst of depression may appear selfish, such as neglecting obligations to others, but they are dealing with a mental illness. They may be just as immobilized as someone that has to focus on healing from a physical ailment. Show your support and cut them some slack.
5. “It’s your fault you’re depressed.” Laying guilt on a person for the way they feel is not a solution to depression. The person did not ask for depression and they may not yet know how to cope with it. Telling someone that it is their fault will only compound any sense guilt they may have over the way they feel. Instead offer to help your depressed friend or loved one find help in working through their illness.
If you’re looking for a resource to help a depressed or bipolar loved one, check out this highly rated book The Mindful Way through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness and The Depression Advantage.