With all the stigmas associated with mental disorders, someone may not appreciate even when advised to visit a mental health rehab center. You always try to be respectful and have good intentions when you try to help a person with depression or any other mental health issue. However, depression is a mental disorder that has a negative impact on the thinking and feelings of the depressed.
He already struggles when it comes to daily activities such as sleeping, working and even eating. The depressed person is already experiencing a wide range of symptoms including:
- Feeling helpless or hopeless
- Feeling worthless
- Loss of pleasure in activities
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Changes in eating pattern
- Lack of concentration
- Problems in making decisions
- Suicidal thoughts or even attempts
- Sleep disturbance
So, it is always good to be a little extra careful when you are speaking to a person with depression. Most importantly, you should listen to them without judgment. The following are the phrases you should avoid while offering support to that person.
“Stop Thinking About It”
A person with depression is also likely to suffer from rumination. He goes over a thought or problem repetitively without completion. This further multiplies the feeling of helplessness or worthlessness. It is a mental disorder, a medical condition. It cannot be treated by “stop thinking about it”.
You should encourage that person to be positive. In some therapies, the effects of depression are controlled by replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts. However, you should leave it on psychotherapists. Moreover, this therapy takes its time to work. It has to break a cycle of negative thoughts. By telling him to think positive, you are actually dismissing the medical condition causing this problem. Just tell him to visit a mental health rehab center and let a psychotherapist help him.
“I Know How You Feel”
No, you don’t. Keep in mind that this empathic statement can backfire. Normal feelings of sadness and clinical depression are not the same. Feeling sad is normal. On the other hand, clinical depression is a mood disorder having negative impacts on the person. He can’t even do his normal daily activities. This statement can minimize the pain but cannot cure the disorder.
“It Could Be Worse”
It could be. What if it is already? Comparing to other people with this disorder cannot help. You need to show compassion and empathy when he reaches out to you for support. Telling that someone else is having it worse is likely to make him feel ashamed.
“Count Your Blessings”
By saying so, you might make him feel that he does not care about people worried about his condition. This can also lead to feelings of guilt. That person might feel more worthless and helpless.
“Get Over It”
It is not possible to get over it. You are showing no compassion with this statement. It might make him feel misunderstood or ashamed. This is not the right way to support him.
Following are the empathic statements that can help:
- I am always there to help you.
- You can talk to me anytime.
- Would you like to go for a walk with me?