For some strange reason , I have left this post in the draft for a couple of days. And been trying to understand why it is difficult to post it. Just realised, I am scared I will hurt someone unintentionally. Please know that this post is not a comment on anything you have said or done- it’s infact a cry for understanding from the depressive world.
As I mentioned in the previous post (Previous post on gratitude), I am blessed with amazing people in my life. I honestly couldn’t have survived on this journey on my own. However, this is not to say that I don’t receive the most irritating and pushy suggestions/advice from my loved ones and and others. But I know they only have love for me and are just trying to help. I am just listing some things that might have momentarily hurt me —only to help you understand what not to say to a depressive:
- How can YOU say you are sad?
- Come on, just snap out of it.
- How about going out drinking and dancing to some place you like?
- You should just be grateful you have such an awesome family.
- You need to stop focusing on yourself – why don’t you do some charity/volunteer?
- Is everything OK between you and him (referring to the poor husband)?
- You know menopause kicks in early for some people? ( 39?)
- You need to stop taking those pills…everyone knows they are harmful in the long run!
- You are what you think!
- Just take a look around…everyone has their problems. XYZ is going through divorce/ trauma/ illness etc.
- You should realise how lucky you are!
- Have you tried taking vitamins?
- I thought you were strong!
- Try thinking positive (would you say that to someone with diabetes instead of giving them insulin?)
- I know how you feel (comparison between their normal sad days and someones clinical condition)!
- Is there something on your mind you want to talk about? You will feel better once you share (usually followed by No.5).
- You have too much free time. That’s why you keep thinking all this useless stuff.
- Only you can change this…just stop whining!
- Just pick up your camera (referring to anything I am known to love doing) and you will be fine am sure.
- Have you thought of the damage all this is doing to your family? Especially your little one? ( thank you for the added guilt!)
Like I said before, I know these are well meaning suggestions. I just want you to know they don’t help. And that I do not hold them against anyone because I might have said one of the above if someone had told me they were depressed (any time before November 2015). Thankfully, I have become much more empathetic and much less judgemental – that’s my silver lining for this phase.
Something that might really help your depressed friend could be just a warm hug and assurance that she is important to you, loved, not alone and that you will be still there when this phase is over. The support and compassion expressed in just saying a simple “I don’t really understand what you must be feeling but I want to”, goes a long way.
Thank you for reading this post 🙂