Things you shouldn’t say to someone fighting Depression

With Depression as the prime focus this month, we often need to understand what we Shouldn’t do along with what we should. The question I am often asked is – How do I deal with my loved one when they are battling depression? Indeed a big worry for the caregivers and family members of those who have depression.
A few DONOTs are way more important than anything. Here is a small comprehensive list of the same.
1. WORDS MATTER:
Avoid hurtful words. It is easy to snap at someone who may already be down, especially when they are being difficult. Patience goes a long way when someone maybe depressed.
2. KEEP A TOUGH SKIN:
Don’t feel bad or hurt over something a depressed individual says to you .Often, caregivers (family members etc) get hurt over what a depressed individual may say to them. Accusations like – “Its all due to you. You are a bad person.” are commonly made by a person battling mental illness. Please do not feel offended. I constantly tell relatives, its not your loved one talking, but their depression!
3. “GET OVER IT”:
Easy to say, difficult to do. Asking an individual with a broken leg to shake it off and run is equivalent of telling an individual with depression to snap out of depression. It is not under their control after all.
4. COMPARING WITH OTHERS:
You are stronger than this, people go through a lot worse. Citing that so and so has far less money or balance in life and is still pulling through makes a depressed individual feel worse. It often pushes them over the edge.
5. BLAME SOMEONE:
“You are doing this for attention”, “You are depressed due to your own bad deeds and actions”. “You are doing all this deliberately ” Perhaps the most hurtful words, which even drives people to suicide.
6. DRAWING COMPARISON WITH YOUR OWN SELF:
You may feel that someone’s cause of worry is trivial, but we all feel that our worries are big.
Don’t say – “Look how much I go through regularly and yet I am so strong.” “Look, how I never care about what others say, why don’t you do the same” “I have been through what you are going through but overcome it with strong mind.” The comparison would not allow the worried individual to open up to you.
7. BE POSITIVE:
Constantly saying that “Be positive and it will be okay” is irksome.
8. DENYING HELP FROM SOMEONE ELSE:
You don’t need help from outside. “I will help you. Help from a third person (counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist) is for weak individuals or those who don’t have family.” Such statements prevent them from getting the much needed help.
9. DRIVING THEM AWAY
“I am not going to be there for you during this time. You manage on your own.” “This isn’t what I signed up for.” These words should be avoided even in extreme rage or even as a reaction to what the depressed person says.
10. STIGMA:
“Are you mad?” “Why are you seeing a psychiatrist?” “Why are you behaving like a MENTAL case?” “Donot take pills, they are bad for you.”
Mental health is with everyone. Whether it is good or bad, is the big question. So when you use pejorative terms, an individual instantly feels a disconnect from you and loses hope to open up to anyone else.

 

Make a wow to help someone by simply avoiding these.

-Dr.Era Dutta

Mind Wellness©

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