Depression is an extremely common mental illness, with around 20-25% of adults suffering at least one depressive episode in their lifetimes. While it’s common for most people to feel down occasionally, for some it’s an illness that affects them their entire lives.
In fact, depression prevents them from living an average life because it causes everything to come to a screeching halt. Since people don’t often understand depression, they typically come off as insensitive without meaning to, which prevents many suffering from depression from opening up about their condition.
Here are 4 things you shouldn’t say to someone suffering from depression when trying to open a dialogue with them;
1. Just Snap Out Of It
Depression is often misunderstood by most people, who sometimes think that people who have it are either making themselves feel sad or are using it for attention.
However, the opposite is true, because depression isn’t something that people willingly give themselves. Depression is a chemical reaction in people’s brains that causes them to think and act the way they do, and it’s something they can’t control.
You shouldn’t tell someone with depression that they need to “snap out of it,” because it’s basically like telling someone with a cold or the flu to get over their sickness. Depression is something its sufferers can’t help, so be sure that you don’t trivialize their illness.
2. There Are Other People Who Have It Worse Than You Do
A common thing people tend to point out when talking to those with depression is how good they have it compared to others who are worse off. While it’s not wrong to recognize how nice our lives are comparative to others, it fails to recognize that depression sufferers aren’t unable to be thankful for the things they have.
Because depression is something they can’t control, they can still feel bad while recognizing how good they have it. It’s also insensitive to think that depression is something that can only be experienced by those who aren’t well-off. Anyone can have depression, regardless of whether they’re rich or poor.
3. Do You Really Think You Should Be Taking That Medication?
Since depression is a true illness, asking this to someone who takes antidepressants is like asking those with other sicknesses if they should be taking their medication. This is something many with depression often have to deal with, as there’s a stigma surrounding the use of antidepressants.
People often think of them as something to steer clear from, perceiving them as drugs people take to not have to deal with life. People don’t realize that antidepressants are prescribed by doctors to help patients cope with the disease that is depression. While it’s easy to judge, it would be like someone criticizing you for taking antibiotics for an infection.
4. You Seem to Do Fine At School/work
People tend to think that when depression sufferers do well in school or at work, this means that they’re not feeling all that bad. This view fails to understand that people with depression often tend to put up a front when engaging with the rest of society.
They go to work, hang out with friends, attend social gatherings, and do a variety of other things while appearing happy on the outside when, in reality, they’re suffering on the inside.
They perform the necessary social duties during the day and pretend as if everything is fine, but the reality is that they’re broken people who need help from friends and family.
Depression is a disease – one that often brings the chance of suicide with it. Before you question or judge people suffering from depression, you need to be careful with what you say. There is a good chance that you may know someone with depression, and what they need isn’t questions or uninformed suggestions.
Instead, what they need more than anything is love and support from those who are close to them.