You would think that most people have this depression thing figured out by now. Almost everyone knows at least one person who has it. And by depression, I’m referring to major depressive disorder—not feeling sad, not having the blues, not going through a breakup or divorce, not losing your job, not having PMS. Major depressive disorder.
Anyway, apparently some people still aren’t clear on how to deal with a friend or family member who’s depressed, so I’ve written this list of things not to say to them. Seriously, please don’t say these things.
- Why are you so miserable all the time? Would you like a detailed description of my brain chemistry? No? Then don’t ask this question. Also, quit it with that annoying mildly-offended tone. My emotions aren’t a personal attack on your values.
- You know, I was depressed once, but I just pulled myself out of it. You know what, good for you. I’m truly happy that you were able to do that. But not everyone can, ok?
- Stop being so sensitive. Lower your blood pressure! Now! Can’t do it? Wow, you’re so lazy, relying on doctors and medications to help you do something the rest of us can do ourselves.
- But what could you possibly have to be depressed about? Depression isn’t “about” anything. It just is.
- You’re just trying to make my life difficult. Actually, I’m just trying to get by and stop wanting to kill myself. Your life is quite honestly the last thing on my mind right now.
- You just need to get a boyfriend/get out more/exercise/eat better/sleep more/take herbal pills/get laid/do art. Actually, yeah, tried all those. Let’s leave the medical advice to my doctor, shall we?
- Why can’t you just go out and have fun with us? Because I get exhausted starting at 7 PM, because you and your friends bore me, because I don’t want to be asked why I’m not smiling all night, and because being depressed isn’t like going through a breakup–it can’t be solved by drinking or dancing or having sex with random people.
- But you’re so young! Ahhh, this one always gets me. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for teenagers and college-age adults, right behind car accidents and homicide. So clearly I’m not exactly the first young person in the history of human society to be depressed.
- You just need to learn how to control your emotions. Yes, that’s what therapy’s for. Thanks for the protip, though.
- Why do you have to ruin everyone’s mood all the time? Because you’re letting your mood be ruined by the fact that someone in your vicinity has an illness. Also, if you’re so concerned about your mood, imagine what it’s like to live inside my mind 24/7.
- Smile! Or else what? Will I fail to do my duty by Brightening Someone’s Day? Are you offended by my neutral facial expression?
Now, a disclaimer: this post was meant more for the purpose of humor (a sense of which I do, believe it or not, have) than anything else. So don’t get on my case for hating on healthy people. However, if someone you care about has depression, you might want to take my suggestions into account. Saying stuff like this only makes people with depression want to isolate themselves from you every more than they already do. Might earn you a dirty look, too.
So, now that you know what not to say to a depressed person, you might be wondering what you should say to a depressed person. Look out for a post regarding that.