1. “Other people have it much worse than you do.”
Someone else having problems does not make your problems disappear.
What you should say instead: I’m sorry that you’re hurting. How can I help you?
2. “You’ll feel better tomorrow.”
This isn’t fair, and it puts a lot of pressure on a person who is already struggling every single day to find the light again. Depression isn’t something that goes away overnight.
What you should say instead: Take it one day at a time, and I’ll be here with you through them all.
3. “Life isn’t fair.”
This is, once again, downplaying this person’s feelings. No, life may not be fair, but that won’t make them feel any better about their situation.
What you should say instead: I’m so sorry this has happened to you, but we can and WILL get you through this.
4. “You just have to deal with it.”
Someone who struggles with depression IS dealing with it…every single day…as best they can. Saying this undermines them and could make them feel as if they aren’t good enough.
What you should say instead: You don’t have to deal with this alone. I am here for you.
5. “Life goes on.”
Yeah, life does go on, but for someone dealing with depression, it can feel as if they are stuck with no way out. They probably have trouble imagining getting through a day, let alone the entire week.
What you should say instead: You have so much to live for, and I will be with you to help you rediscover those things.
6. “I know how you feel, I was depressed once.”
It might go without saying, but no one person’s feelings are exactly the same. This could make them feel as if you’re downplaying their feelings and struggle. Not everyone deals with things the same way, and that holds true for depression. And let us all remember: Depression is much more than a bad mood or bad day.
What you should say instead: I can only imagine what you must be going through, but I will try to understand the best I can.
7. “You’re being selfish.”
Chances are, a person struggling with depression is probably already being incredibly hard on themselves. They don’t need you to cut them down, as well. And remember, depression is not a choice. They are not choosing to do this.
What you should say instead: I really miss you. What can I do to help?
8. “Go out, have fun, have a drink, and forget about it.”
A night out on the town is no cure for depression. Depression isn’t just a bad day. It’s a hundred bad days, all at once, with seemingly no way out.
What you should say instead: I would love to spend some time with you, and I’m more than willing to be your shoulder to lean on. Maybe we can grab some coffee and catch up?
9. “You’re bringing me down.”
Again, repeat after me: Depression is not a choice. A person struggling with depression may feel helpless. They are struggling to help themselves; the last thing they need is the extra worry and pain of trying to help you.
What you should say instead: I hate seeing you so down. What can I do to help?
10. “What do you even have to be depressed about?”
Depression isn’t always caused by a traumatic or sad event. Sometimes, it just happens. That doesn’t make it any less serious.
What you should say instead: I’m sorry I didn’t realize you were struggling, I’m here now.
11. “Stop feeling sorry for yourself.”
There’s a big difference in feeling sorry for yourself, and struggling with depression, although sometimes the two go hand in hand.
What you should say instead: I can see that you are struggling, and it makes me upset. What can I do?
12. “You need to go on a run.”
Although exercise can help combat bad days, when someone is struggling with depression it may be too difficult to even get out of bed some days.
What you should say instead: I need a walking buddy! Will you walk with me?
13. “You just need to get out of the house!”
Again, for someone struggling with depression, leaving the house could seem next to impossible. And even if they do, leaving the house isn’t a fix for depression.
What you should say instead: I don’t like the thought of you dealing with this alone. Maybe I can come over or we can go somewhere together.
14. “Everyone else is dealing with life, so why can’t you?”
Depression is not a choice. It is not a choice. It happens. And when it happens, it will affect anyone and everyone differently.
What you should say instead: You seem to be having a difficult time and I just want you to know that I’m here.
15. “You’re strong, you’ll be fine.”
Depression will make anyone feel weak and helpless.
What you should say instead: I believe in you, and I know you can get through this. I will be here every step of the way.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, please know that help is available. Call 1-800-273-8255 or visit this website anytime.
You are not alone.