3 things never to say to someone who is depressed


I know the word ‘Depression’ is scary to so many of us, that we would rather not ‘deal’. Sometimes, we try to help, but the wrong words comes out. So in today’s write-up, we want to share with you 3 things never to say to someone who is depressed. But first…

….What is Depression?

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines depression as “persistent sadness and a lack of interest or pleasure in previously rewarding or enjoyable activities”. Depression is a sickness just like cancer, headache or fever.

Depression can include oversleeping, not sleeping, enough overeating, not eating enough, feelings of helplessness, and it gets in the way of life, just like any other sickness can.

Which begs the question of why people refuse to approach the subject and do so with empathy and understanding.

This includes arming yourself with the right words of encouragement to say. If there are right words to say , it means there can be wrong word to say as well. So here below are X things never to say to someone who is depressed.

1. It’s all in your head/Mind

Depression is not imagined, neither is it something anyone chooses to randomly make up. Such comment is hurtful and trivializes what the person is experiencing. There have been studies that show depression can manifest in physical forms such as extreme fatigue, restlessness, weight gain/loss, extreme feelings of hopelessness, increased pain, etc.

You won’t tell someone having cancer or migraine it’s all in their heads, so please apply same understanding to depression.

What you can say instead
  • I will do my best to understand
  • I see you are struggling, I admire your strength for pushing through
  • I am sorry you are not feeling well, is there anything I can do?

2. What is there to be depressed about?

Short answer- nothing and everything. While tragic and traumatic events could lead to depression, it is not always the case. Depression can exists as a result of other physical illness, genetics, hormonal regulations and/or imbalance, childbirth, age menopause, etc.

There are at least 5 items listed that has nothing to do with ‘events’ or ‘happenings’. This question is particularly the case when kids are the ones suffering from depression. When we understand that puberty CAN in itself cause depression, perhaps we will pay more attention to kids’ emotions and eventual depression.

What you can say instead

  • Thank you for sharing with me, have you seen a doctor to determine cause?
  • I am sorry for what happened to you. am here for you, let me know where you need help
  • Would you be open to talking to specialist?

3. You can’t say you are a Christian and be depressed

This one gets me chuckling everytime. Can one be a Christian and have headache, COVID, cancer, etc.? I know you are shy to say the yes out loud, but I hear your heart. So then apply same to depression.

I get the idea behind this statement, but like all the others, the most well-intended statements can undermine a person’s reality and make you come across as lacking compassion. Which is why I like debunking the myths behind depression or mental health in general.

What God does for us when we are depressed, have cancer, or any other sickness is offer supernatural healing (miracles) and/or if you are Christian, you can ‘lay hold’ of His promises over your life. But as to if one CAN be depressed as a Christian, kindly reference your Bible for stories of people who were. God helped them, not make them feel small. Be like your Father in that regard.

What you can say instead

  • I am unsure how to help, is it okay if I prayed with you?
  • God cares about your suffering, He loves you
  • Depression does not mean you are a bad Christian or did something wrong
  • You are never alone

As stated earlier, I recognize sometimes these statements come from a good place, but understanding the impact matters. Now that you know, how are you going to approach someone you know who may be suffering from depression differently?

I am not an expert on depression or clinical psychology. If you or anyone you know is suffering from depression (or you suspect so), please reach out to psychologists or psychiatrist for help.





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