Why are people so callous when their friends or loved ones are depressed? The main reason is that depression is extremely difficult to comprehend. Another reason is that being depressed carries a social stigma.
We don't want to be reminded of the other side, even though we live in a society that appears to revolve around physical well-being and being upbeat. We want to forget about depression. A person suffering from cancer is likely to receive far more assistance than a person suffering from depression.
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It's even worse when friends and family members give you useless advice. The sad reality is that these opinions reflect a shocking lack of knowledge about this mental illness.
No, depression was not invented for the benefit of Big Pharma. This disease affects 350 million people around the world. It causes enormous suffering and is a factor in suicide deaths. The startling fact is that less than half of patients will seek treatment, owing to ignorance and apathy.
Here are 20 pieces of advice that are completely useless when trying to help a loved one who is depressed. If you're trying to be sympathetic, avoid using these phrases. They might have the opposite effect that was intended.
1. You need to snap out of it
If you suffer from depression, I'm sure you wish you could just snap out of it! This isn't just a blip on your happiness/sadness scale. It is so debilitating that you can't even get out of bed in the morning. It's difficult for you to muster enough energy. Motivation is a skill that is beyond your grasp.
If you notice any of these symptoms in a friend, make sure he or she is diagnosed and treated. Particularly if these feelings persist for more than two weeks. Symptoms will vary greatly. You may experience feelings of hopelessness, loss of appetite, and difficulty sleeping. The most important thing is to receive a diagnosis.
2. You should know that other people are far worse off than you are
This will not assist a person in resolving their problems! The person who is depressed simply needs someone to be there for them and provide support. You are not required to say anything if this causes you embarrassment. You can, however, tell the person that they can recover and that you will be there to support them.
3. Life is difficult
This is more likely to exacerbate the depressed person's feelings than to alleviate them. You could help them even more if you expressed empathy for their situation and offered to assist them in getting through it. Medication and/or psychotherapy may be used to treat the condition.
4. You must proceed with caution
This sends the incorrect message. It exacerbates a depressed person's sense of isolation. The best way to assist them is to send them texts or simply call them to let them know there is someone who cares. Living with Depression by Susan Serani provides excellent examples of practical ways to help.
5. You are overly introspective
The implication here is that depression is a relatively minor issue. You'll come across as critical and judgmental. The best way to express affection and love is to avoid statements like these, which further isolate the individual.
6. you are far too sensitive
This demeans the depressed person because they will believe that their illness is being viewed solely as a character flaw. Taking the person for a walk would be a much better approach. You can try to encourage them to do something every day.
7. Life goes on
“Living with depression is like carrying a 40-ton weight around with you — you want to get up and move, but you just don't feel like you can.” – from a depressed individual who wishes to remain anonymous.
Telling a depressed patient that life goes on will appear to be sweeping the problem under the rug. It will appear as if you are unconcerned at all.
8. Simply go out and have fun
Suggesting fun activities will not help unless you are willing to accompany your depressed friend and encourage them to take small steps every day. Lending support entails being present, or at the very least calling to remind them that they need to do “X” today and “Y” tomorrow.
9. Aches and pains are completely normal
A peculiar aspect of depression is that it is frequently diagnosed in patients who are experiencing physical aches and pains rather than problems with mood and motivation. Encourage them to seek a diagnosis and offer your assistance.
10. You have so many reasons to be thankful
The depressed patient is not interested in hearing about gratitude. Their main concern is that the exhaustion and loss of interest will last forever. It is always a good idea to remind the person who is suffering that treatment is possible. Depression does not have to last forever.
“Cheer up,” my uncle used to tell my depressed aunt. The result was exactly the opposite. It actually made her cry harder. His complete misunderstanding of her condition was completely ineffective.
12. You're strong, and you'll be fine
Yes, some people are strong, and they may have dealt with depression or despair. If you are depressed, you may believe that your life is meaningless to anyone else. Again, simply listening can be reassuring to someone who is depressed.
13. You should stop wallowing in self-pity
This implies that the depressed individual has a weak personality and is flawed in some way. Sitting down and listening to the depressed person's problems and feelings would be a much more helpful response.
14. You should take stress-relieving vitamins
Because you are not qualified, an offer of an over-the-counter cure will not help you at all. It is far better to encourage the patient to seek treatment and offer to accompany them or assist them in finding a specialist.
15. You should contact me
If you are a true friend, you should be the one to reach out to the sufferer and show him or her how much you care.
16. You should purchase nicer clothing
Your friend's wardrobe may be a shambles, but it won't make their depression go away. Going shopping as a group would be a much better idea.
17. You are aware that everyone has issues
When you say this, you imply that the depressed person has made a conscious decision to be miserable and unhappy. Comparisons with the vast majority of the population are useless. It would be far more appropriate to state that you are attempting to comprehend their problems. Encourage them to look for assistance and advice online.
18. You should put in more effort
Harsh and critical comments like this will do nothing to help. The attitude of family members and close friends is frequently critical in determining whether or not a person will recover from depression.
19. You should have improved by now
Impatience indicates to a depressed person that no one truly understands what they are experiencing. A more compassionate approach, free of deadlines, would be far more beneficial.
20. You'll have to get used to it
Learning to live with depression when there is no way out is like walking into a dark tunnel. Pep talks, platitudes, and ostensibly encouraging remarks exacerbate the situation. If you truly want to help, it is far better to follow the steps I have outlined below.
What we can do to assist depressed people
- Most experts agree that simply being present and supportive can be extremely beneficial.
- We can learn more about depression, including its causes and symptoms.
- We can encourage the depressed individual to seek diagnosis and treatment. We can assist them with day-to-day tasks and goals. We can also drop by later in the day to remind them of a task. Or we can simply call them and have a quick conversation while we're at it.
- We can encourage them to join online forums for depressed people. This is a great place to get help, but it will never be as effective as a live person.
- We should never give the patient the impression that it is their fault or criticize them in any way.
- We should encourage and monitor their daily routines, such as eating, exercising, and sleeping.
- We should be able to talk to them about suicide if they bring it up. The important thing is to go over the ideas again, but this time propose a different solution.
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