8 Things NOT To Say To Someone With Depression
After an overwhelmingly positive response to my post, 8 Things People Have Said To Me About My OCD, I’ve wanted to write one about depression for ages! So here it is, with the usual dose of honesty, thought-provoking sincerity and heavy sarcasm!
It’s all in your head.
Yes, that’s where the brain is located. A* in biology for you! It’s the same as telling someone with asthma, “It’s all in your lungs!” Yeah, thanks for that Captain Obvious!
I do not understand why any other part of the human anatomy can get sick and society is perfectly accepting of it. People are usually so kind!
Got a headache? “Do you want me to go to the shop and buy your some Paracetamol?”
Stomach bug? “Oh, you poor thing! Take as much time off work as you need!”
Broken leg? “Have you got a sharpie so I can sign your cast?”
However, when the organ that controls all parts of the body doesn’t work as it should, it’s so commonly dismissed.
“Why do you need to take antidepressants for?”
“You can’t take a sick day because you’re just in a bad mood!”
“Let me know when you’ve cheered up!”
I will never understand that bloody stupid logic.
You don’t look depressed!
Oh, I’m sorry. I forgot to bring my literal black cloud to hang over my head with me today. Perhaps I should get a big flashing neon sign that screams “I’M DEPRESSED” just so it’s a tad more obvious to you.
Depression doesn’t have a ‘look.’ Yes, just like any other mental illness, there are consistent stereotypes. For example, the teenage girl crying underneath her duvet, listening to sad “emo” songs and hating the world. But ANYONE can suffer from the illness, no matter their age, gender, nationality, sexuality, occupation or lifestyle. Remember, Robin Williams, one of the greatest comedic actors and stand-ups, shocked the world when suicide took his life. This seemingly happy, hilarious guy was the opposite of what some may imagine a depressed person to look like. Pain does not need to be seen to be felt. Pain does not need to be seen to exist.
Just do some exercise!
I’ve heard it all, from “Go for a run to get those endorphins flowing!” or “Have you tried yoga? That will totally chill you out!”
Trust me, if I could yoga the depression away, or literally run away from it, I’d be the fastest, bendiest bitch on this side of the equator.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully aware of the benefits exercise can have on your mental health and all the science that backs it up. But, it doesn’t cure a mental illness. It’s difference from person to person. Exhaustion and lack of energy are common side effects of depression, which can make it extremely difficult to even get out of bed some days, let alone get all hot and sweaty behind an exercise bike. Unfortunately, it’s not a simple fix.
It’s just a phase
When you finally find the courage to speak out about your struggle with depression and then someone pipes up with “It’s just a phase! You’ll be fine tomorrow.” Actually hun, it’s a major disorder of the brain, but thanks for your input.
I used to get this all the time as a teenager. I was 15 when I was diagnosed with clinical depression, so it was easy for others to blame it on my hormones or simply being a ‘moody teenager.’ I don’t think it was until I started taking antidepressants the year after did I begin to be taken a little more seriously, especially by my parents. Of all the things I’m sure they imagined for their teenage daughter, severe and psychotic depression was not on the wish list.
Other people have it so much worse! What do you have to be depressed about?
Repeat after me. Depression is NOT a choice.
Depression is an unconditional illness that can come and go as it pleases. It doesn’t give a crap if my life is going well, positive things are happening or people love me. It’s a dirty trickster who loves nothing more than to cause destruction and doubt. Telling me other people have worse problems does not make my big black cloud float away. Mental illness doesn’t have to stem from some childhood trauma or devastating event for it to be justified. Brain scans have shown there are significant physical differences between a health brain and a mentally sick brain.
Plus, its common for people with depression to suffer a major side of guilt about feeling the way we do, possibly because of its impact on our loved ones or because in reality, on the outside looking in, our lives are pretty good. So, this ignorance is not helpful!
Snap out of it!
*Snap* THANKS, I’M CURED!
Depression doesn’t have an on and off switch (which is probably a good things as my OCD will make me touch it 10 times.) Nor is there a magic spell that enables me to wave a wand and suddenly everything is fan-bloody-tastic. I don’t choose to be depressed just for the hell of it – literally and metaphorically speaking. There are many theories. A chemical imbalance in the brain, a different brain structure or because of something from your childhood. What these theories have in common is that none are/were my choice. So please don’t tell me to just ‘snap out of it’ and expect me to transform in the blink of an eye, you absolute moron.
You’re being selfish
This is what someone in my past called me when I told them I self harmed. I was only thinking of myself apparently, and I didn’t give a damn about how anyone else would feel about it.
This is something I always struggled to understand, as my mental health tells me I’m being selfish and self-centred. But according to that logic, I wouldn’t have thought about my parents when I ended up in hospital because of my depression. Nor would I have cared about my friends when I constantly cancelled plans because I just couldn’t go out. But actually, it’s the opposite. Depression tells me these people are better off without me; they’d be happier. I’m doing people a favour by hiding myself away. Why would they want to be around a misery like me?
It’s a warped logic, and one that deep down under the depression, I know none of it is true. So, acts that may seem selfish on the outside are the ones I can convince myself are completely selfless.
Just be happy!
HA! This is my absolutely fave. I mean, be happy?! Why didn’t I think of that? How very silly of me.
It’s like texting happiness, ‘Where you at?’ and it leaving you on read.
You wouldn’t tell someone with a broken leg to just ‘walk it off’ would you? So please don’t think it is that simple just because my illness is cognitive.
THINK before you speak.
Do you have any to add?
As always, thank you for reading.