- “But you always seem so happy":
Thanks to nasty stigmas levied against mental illness, so many saddled with depression and other diagnoses feel compelled to slap on a fake smile and party through the pain. Unless you’re Professor X, you have absolutely no idea what happens in a person’s life or head on a daily basis. Its ravages happen internally for the most part, meaning someone beaming on the outside might actually stuff back some exceptional pain, even trauma. This poisonous perspective actually led to one woman losing her health insurance, as her employers at IBM thought her period of clinical depression ended after she posted pictures of herself smiling on Facebook. More empathy and compassion, less “judging a book by its cover,” as it were, is essential to encouraging lasting mental health solutions.
- “Other people have it a whole lot worse, you know":
Just about the worst thing anyone can say to anyone suffering from clinical depression revolves around downplaying the severity of the condition. Yes, they are well aware that millions across the world suffer far worse than themselves. The condition impacts brain chemistry, not perspective. Because clinical depression and related disorders oftentimes involve crushing guilt (many times with no real source), behaving as if their outlooks require a mere attitude adjustment piques the problem far more than it genuinely helps. In fact, it may even preclude many from seeking the medical assistance they might need to process the pain and keep things under control. Rather than instilling shame, try simply listening when a depressed individual wishes to sort things out with another person.
- “It’s just a case of ‘the blues.’ You’ll be fine in a day or so":
You wouldn’t call a patch of skin cancer “just a mole,” and the same logic applies here. Depression is a diagnosable medical condition, and must be approached as such. “The blues” may share a couple of superficial symptoms with the disorder, but conflating the two renders a serious situation even worse. Apathy, sadness, anxiety, and other deeply physiological emotions all exist as universal experiences, but intensity and length separate a small bump in the road from a pathology. Start worrying if a loved one just can’t seem to escape the quagmire — just refrain from throwing this or similar phrases at him or her for “motivation” purposes.
- “If life sucks so bad, just kill yourself":
One of the most offensive statements to vomit up on a depressed individual perpetuates the mainstream perspective that they’re all inherently suicidal. Saying this to someone who does not harbor inclinations toward self-harm will only frustrate them because you’re resorting to sensationalism over paying any real attention. And for those who do wish to hurt themselves, well, you’re only drowning out their cry for help and leaving them with a heightened risk of feeling even more isolated. Everyone’s depression manifests itself in different ways and requires different techniques for treating. Never assume an instance is as bad — or as “good” — as another.
- “STOP IT":
Until medical science finally devises a method to cure all ills instantaneously, consider this sentiment and its ilk entirely off-limits. Even “the blues” take a small amount of time to kick, meaning a diagnosable condition won’t stop merely because the brain wills it so. Trust us here: most (though, more than likely, all) people suffering from depression don’t actually enjoy the pain. If they could just “stop it,” they’d stop it. Once again, a little love resonates in big ways. You may not force anyone into therapy — nor should you try — but you can inspire them to strive by something better by treating them with the dignity and humanity they so often deny themselves.
- “Smiling and thinking happy thoughts will make it better":
Smiling and thinking happy thoughts only makes better the lack of smiling and thinking happy thoughts, but neither work when it comes to making depression disappear. That’s not to say they can’t act as nice little supplements to professional help, but you can’t treat depression with big grins any more than you can put the sun out with a fire hose. Pop psychology and “motivational speakers” spread this well-meaning but ultimately toxic philosophy, applying advice that only works for small, inconsequential day-to-day stressors to something far more serious and complex.
- “Now you’re bringing ME down":
Depression sufferers already fight enough guilt as it is, remember? Attempting to “snap them out of it” by appealing to their empathic sides piles the pain on instead. For the most part, their turning toward trusted loved ones when navigating a particularly troubling period comes from a place of healing, not selfishness. Approaching them as if they only wish to commandeer your time with insignificant whining might very well nurture further the very thing they want to calm down.
- “You’ll be fine after a drink":
Seeing as how alcohol acts as a depressive, this really won’t work. While it certainly boasts some calming properties when moderately ingested by certain individuals, temporarily alleviating the more anxious symptoms never equates to “fine.” Only therapy and — in some, though by no means all, cases — medication offer up the closest thing to a definitive cure for depressive disorders. Encouraging intoxicants as a strategy for sloughing off the mental, physical, and emotional turmoil also carries with it some extremely unfortunate potential for substance abuse. If you truly want to help a loved one suffering from mental illness, empathy, compassion, and supporting the decision to seek counseling prove far more effective and sustainable.
- “Oh come on. It’s really not that bad":
Cognitive distortions often cloud the thinking of clinical depression patients, making it difficult for them to gauge the true shape of things. Again, they don’t lack perspective; brain chemistry stands as the guilty party here, nothing more. Merely stating the fact likely won’t change much of anything. Clearing up the fog requires extensive talk therapy and even medication in some patients, though some depressives might ask a trusted loved one to reassure them when the anxiety swells to overwhelming levels. Only provide this support service when asked, because just throwing it out there could launch a catastrophe.
- “Don’t worry! Be happy":
Catchy song, awful advice. For depression, anyways, not daily dents and dings. If the condition existed as something so simplistic a mere phrase could turn it off, an entire section of the depressed would climb up the curtain and join the choir invisible. Like the whole attitude that the darkness goes away with a little sunshine and rainbow ponies, encouraging a depression patient with these sound bites certainly blossoms from good intentions. But it isn’t exactly what they need to enjoy their lives in the long term.
- “It’s your choice to be like this":
Um. No. With the exception of hefty voluntary chemical bombardment, nobody on the planet chooses how their brains structure themselves. Numerous factors cause depression to settle in, such as upbringing, environment, genetics, and the like. Many of these, as you see, do not exactly fall under the heading of “A Choice.” Unless you suddenly develop the ability to know everything about everyone ever, try and withhold the patient-shaming judgments. Just about the only thing individuals with depression can control is whether or not they pursue therapy. Should they elect not to, do not immediately take it as an unwillingness to never improve; they might very well hold a legitimate reason for flying solo, such as past experiences with patient abuse.
If you suffer from depression it might be really worth doing a detox as heavy metals and other chemicals can really affect the brain and cause unstable moods and contribute to unhappiness. There is something you can do about this that is 100% natural, 100% safe, 100% effective, scientifically proven and inexpensive. It can be used for every member of the family, even small children. And if breastfeeding, it is even safe for you to take with the detoxifying effects being passed on to your baby, again, safely and effectively. Pure Body by TouchStone Essentials, removes heavy metals and toxins, starting within 4-6 hours by natural means of you taking the first dose. It certainly worked for my depression which I had for 20 years. Check out more about the incredible Pure Body here or contact me, Anna Rodgers, for more details anna@missecoglam(dot)com