Things I Wish People Wouldn’t Say To Me When I’m Depressed

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Depression makes me feel like a total nuisance at times,  so it’s not surprising that these flippant comments don’t help.  Although a lot of the time these words have been said by complete strangers, they still cut deep. Why I had to dump my best mate to recover from depression In fact, in some ways, being approached by a stranger and being told to ‘cheer up’ is worst of all. Have you been guilty of saying any of these phrases to a friend with depression? It’s not easy to talk to a friend who’s struggling with a mental illness. Here’s a gentle reminder of what not to say.

  1. Maybe you just need a holiday Ah yes, the old Vitamin D solution. Shall I drag myself through one of my biggest anxieties (flying on a plane) to lie on a sun lounger for a week? And who’s going to pay for this when I’m off work claiming disability allowance?
  2. There are children starving in Africa Thanks for stating the obvious. Unfortunately there are children starving in the UK too. In fact, there is trauma, poverty and sadness all over the world and some of it just so happens to be consuming my every waking moment. Other people’s suffering doesn’t make mine any less valid.
  3. You take life too seriously Well aren’t you a wise old owl? When you have a mental illness, life is nothing but a string of serious, painful events. The hardest thing is feeling such intense pain at the same time as feeling like none of it matters.
  4. Are you taking your medication? Yes I am, and I’m a fully grown adult who is taking all the advice that the professionals are willing to give me.
  5. You just need to let your hair down I looked for a solution to my madness in a few hundred bottles of wine before I realised it wasn’t in any of them. Consider hair previously let down, to no avail.
  6. You don’t look depressed What does a depressed person look like exactly? I mean, you’re more than welcome to come and watch me lie in the foetal position for six hours if you want a closer look. I also look pretty good when I sob in the shower every morning.
  7.  You’re being selfish The reason I’m being selfish is because I’ve spent too long using all of my energy saying yes to other people. Being a push over is what got me in this state, and now I have no other option than to be selfish in order to stay alive.
  8. At least you’re not suicidal Sigh. Just because I didn’t attempt suicide doesn’t mean I was happy to be alive.
  9. You’re not a serious case That was pretty crappy visit to a psychiatrist. There’s nothing quite like the self-loathing that comes after a health professional brushes you off like a filthy speck of dust.
  10. Everyone gets stressed Yes everyone does. But feeling stressed is actually a separate issue from being depressed, so what’s your point?

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4 comments

  1. i relate to these so so much. especially the “you don’t look depressed”. it honestly breaks me apart. but you know your truth, and nobody can invalidate the existence you are living.

  2. Thank you! Yes! My least favorite right now is: “But, you’re doing all the right things and you’re making so much progress.” Okay, well, just because I’ve been able to put on a good show for you does not mean that I am not still dying inside!

  3. Thanks for posting this. It is hard to know what to say – nothing seems to be the right thing. The comments above seem quite rude to me and I hope I have never uttered them. Can you suggest the right approach as well for those who want to help?

    • Thanks for taking the trouble to comment. A simple “How are you going today?” “Seems like today is a rough day” is enough. A simple recognition of you a person is so important. It’s not saying the the platitudes is what counts as I pointed out in my article. Glad that resonated with you. Good luck. All the best Erin.

I would love to hear from you so please leave a comment. All feedback is much appreciated. Thank you. Erin