If you have someone close to you who is suffering from depression, it can be difficult to know exactly what to say. You don’t want to offend them or sound insensitive to what they are feeling. At the same time, you don’t want to ignore that there is definitely something wrong.
The reality is that words are very powerful. Even if you mean something else, saying the wrong thing can make someone think very differently. So, how do you convey the right sentiment through verbal reassurances when talking to someone who is depressed?
Here are some statements that can help you in your interactions.
“It’s okay to feel this way”
Most people who are undergoing depression don’t want to feel that way but they cannot help it. They automatically think that something is wrong with them and they blame themselves for being this way. However, this way of thinking could potentially worsen their condition.
It is important to tell people undergoing depression that it’s alright for them to feel depressed. Reassure them that you recognize their condition and it is not something that they should be ashamed of. Acknowledging what they feel can make it easier for them to accept what they are going through and seek help.
“Take your time”
Depression is a condition that can last for a very long time and every person has a different coping timeline. Some people may be able to overcome their depression after a few weeks but there are also those who become depressed for months or even years.
That’s why you should not tell a depressed person to “Get over it” or “It will pass”. Saying these things somehow undervalues what they are going through. Instead, you have to assure them to take their time. Don’t put any undue pressure because if you do, it will only make them more stressed out and anxious.
“I’m here for you”
Depressed people normally isolate themselves from their friends, family members, and their social circles. Just because they are always absent does not mean they don’t want to be with you. They avoid people not because they want to but because they just cannot summon the energy to be around people in general.
Isolation, however, can be very tough. While it is not advisable to force a depressed person to go out, it is always a good idea to let them know that you are there for them. Just giving them a phone call or sending them a message that you are there for them can be very heart-warming.
“You are important to me”
If someone you love is depressed, you have to understand they may be feeling unimportant and that they no longer have value in this world. The loneliness and isolation also contribute to this way of thinking.
Reaffirm to your loved one that you find them important to your life. Talk about their good traits and how amazing your life is because of their presence. Reminding them of their value and how much you hold them dear can lessen their self-doubt.
“You are not a burden”
When someone is depressed, it is not uncommon to also feel shame and guilt. You might notice that depressed people do not have the same zest for life or the drive to do anything. This is why some people misunderstand depression for laziness, thinking that depressed people are just making excuses to be lazy. When this happens, many depressed people start to question: Am I depressed or lazy?
You have to realize that depression is very different from just being lazy. Understand what is causing the depression of your loved one and don’t automatically assume that they are lazy. If they are open to talk about what they are feeling, reassure them that they are not a burden to you, rather, you want to help them overcome their depression.
“Do you need help?”
Ever heard of the quote “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”? A lot of times, many people feel that because their intentions are good, then this justifies their actions. This includes unsolicited help that may seem like helping, but if it is unwelcome, it already borders on intruding.
This is admittedly a very difficult ground to tread. You don’t want to be too pushy but at the same time, you also don’t want to watch your loved drowning in a black hole of depression. One way of offering help is by asking a question. Ask them if they need or want your help. Ask how you can help. Ask what kind of help you can offer them.
Don’t just assume that they need your help by forcing them to see a therapist or demanding that they go to a doctor. At the same time, you have to be sensitive that even if they say no, sometimes you have to ask again to gain their trust.
“We’re going to get through this together”
Instead of saying, “You’ll get over it” or “You’ll feel better eventually”, the better thing to say is “We’re going to get through this together”. It signifies that you are willing to be there for them during these difficult times and you’re offering positivity without belittling what they are feeling.
If you or a loved one is undergoing depression and substance abuse issues, help is available.
Contact Morningside Recovery by Lighthouse today.