You see all these posts about what not to say to someone with depression. However, what not to say isn’t near as important as the words you can use to help someone through their emotional turmoil.
It’s much more about what to say to someone with depression than it is about what not to say.
Words have a powerful effect on the brain and saying the wrong or right things can instantly change the situation around. Of course, you want it to be for the better. I’ve seen the direct effects of words on my brother who suffers from clinical depression. Saying the wrong things can throw him over the edge when he’s standing on the edge of the cliff. More importantly, saying the right things is like throwing him a life vest after being lost in the deep sea for years.
Words won’t heal depression, nor will they take it away. But, they can help keep your friend or family member alive so they can get the treatment for depression they need that will help them heal and overcome this terrible disease.
So, here is everything you need to know on what to say to someone with depression.
“I’m here for you.”
It’s simple and straight to the point. The key is to mean what you’re saying.
“I’m here if you need me. Seriously.”
People with depression won’t always reach out but letting them know that they can if need be is important. You can’t pressure them or prob them to talk. All you can do is tell them you’re there when and if they decide to open up.
“You don’t have to talk. Let’s just get hang out.”
Again, don’t prob someone with depression to talk. That’s what therapists are for. You’re their friend or loved one. So, just be the
“I will not give up on you.”
When someone with depression has given up on themselves, it helps to know those around them haven’t.
“Is there anything I can do?”
If they say no, reiterate that you’re there if they need you.
“You can get through this.”
Never compare your situation to theirs. Instead, remind them that they can get through this. There’s treatment for depression, essential oils, people who love them, and more importantly, help just waiting for them to reach out.
“You aren’t alone.”
Loneliness is a common symptom of depression. Someone may feel alone, that they’ll always be alone, that they deserve to be alone – and the list goes on. So, play this tip on what to say to someone with depression at the top.
“You aren’t a burden.”
People with depression often feel like a burden; like a negative Nancy who always brings down the mood and/or energy. Remind your loved one that they are not a burden; that you’d rather help them through this than not have them at all.
“You’re not crazy.”
Thankfully, the stigma surrounding mental health is changing but your loved one likely still feels crazy. Remind them that this is a disease and it doesn’t make them “nuts”.
“I’m not going anywhere… And you aren’t either. Promise?”
Remind people with depression that you’re not going anywhere, and they aren’t either. Make a pact. You’ll be there for them, as long as they promise to reach out and stay alive.
“We will get you through this together.”
A helping hand works wonders for someone with depression.
“One bad hour, day, week or month is nothing compared to the happiness you will feel with proper treatment for depression.”
Similar to anxiety, one bout of depression can send someone spinning into emotional turmoil. Remind them that a bad hour, day, week or month doesn’t have to ruin the rest.
“You have to keep trying. There is a cure.”
This one pertains to people with depression and using antidepressants. These medications are trial and error. As I’ve seen with my brother, it can be a process to find the right depression medication. Unfortunately, when they have a medication that works and then suddenly stops, the person feels hopeless and like they’ll never feel better. Remind them that they will feel better. It just takes time.
“Medication won’t change you. You’ll be the same person, sans depression.”
Again, many people with depression think depression medication will change who they are as a person. If you’re trying to get someone on antidepressants, it’s crucial to remind them that the only thing it’ll change is their mental illness.
“You’re not wrong for feeling the way you do and no one blames you for it.”
No one should ever feel guilty about feeling ill. Unfortunately, everyone with anxiety or depression does. Remind them that they’re allowed to feel this way.
“I’ll go with you.”
Someone suffering from depression may be unwilling to seek help for fear of having to do it alone. Tell your loved one that you’ll go with them, whether it’s to the grocery store, therapy session, doctors office, for a walk – whatever. Show them they don’t have to do this alone.
“Do you want to be left alone right now?”
Badgering your loved one to talk is never going to work. In fact, it can set them back. So, before you barge into their house demanding that they open up and talk, ask them if they need space. If they say yes, accept it but remind them you’re there when they’re ready to talk.
“Why don’t you try [treatment for depression]?”
It’s always helpful to suggest things your loved one can do to get the treatment for depression they need. With regards to my brother, I’ll tell him all about the essential oils for depression and teach him about the clinical studies that show them to be as powerful as prescription medications for depression.
I’ll teach him about the benefits of lava stones or Himalayan salt lamps. I encouraged him to participate in a charity walk for children suffering from mental illness. Someone with depression is always eager to get better. Damnit. That’s all they want. So, It never hurts to provide some additional options of treatment they may not have ever known about otherwise.
Lastly, say nothing at all. Silence is sometimes all they need but never stop listening. The best tip on what to say to someone with depression is sometimes not saying anything at all.
There is treatment for depression. Help them find it.