There is nothing worse than feeling like a complete utter failure, crying your eyes out, and then a well-intentioned person comes along and says something that, to your ears, sounds like: “You were right! You are, in fact, a loser.” Good intentions or not, the wrong words hurt. Awhile back, I published a piece, “10 Things Not to Say to a Depressed Person.” Among the no-no’s were:
- It’s all in your head. You need to think positive.
- You need to get out of yourself and give back to the community.
- Why don’t you try and exercise?
- Shop at Whole Foods and you will feel better.
- Meditation and yoga are all you need.
- Get a new job.
- Are you happy in your relationship?
- You have everything you need to get better.
- Do you WANT to feel better?
- Everyone has problems.
Everyday Health’s Andrea Bledsoe, Ph.D., recently compiled her own list of harmful one-liners to say to persons with bipolar disorder:
- You’re crazy.
- This is your fault.
- You’re not trying.
- Everyone has bad times.
- You’ll be okay — there’s no need to worry.
- You’ll never be in a serious romantic relationship.
- What’s the matter with you?
- I can’t help you.
- You don’t have to take your moods out on me — I’m getting so tired of this.
Still more can be found on Margarita Tartakovsky’s list at PsychCentral.com.
So what, on earth, can you say? I found these responses helpful when I was in buried in depression:
- Can I relieve your stress in any way?
- What do you think might help you to feel better?
- Is there something I can do for you?
- Can I drive you somewhere?
- Where are you getting your support?
- You won’t always feel this way.
- Can you think of anything contributing to your depression?
- What time of day is hardest for you?
- I’m here for you.
Published originally on Sanity Break on Everyday Health.