Here are 10 things you definitely don’t want to say, a collection of the gems that I heard when well-intentioned people opened their mouths and said something really stupid to me the two years I was in sorry shape.
1. It’s all in your head. You need to think positive.
While optimism is certainly important in training the brain, studies have shown that people who are severely depressed or acutely anxious only activate their amygdalas (fear center of the brain) by forcing positive thinking
2. You need to get out of yourself and give back to the community.
This is one that certainly made bad things worse. Because now, in addition to feeling severely depressed, a person also feels guilty and self-absorbed. Yes, giving back is important, but only when a person is healthy enough to hold a ladle at a soup kitchen.
3. Why don’t you try and exercise?
Exercise has strong antidepressant effects. However telling someone that they need to exercise is a little like telling someone their butt looks fat in those jeans.
4. Shop at Whole Foods and you will feel better.
1) I don’t have the money to shop at Whole Foods, and 2) although I know that my diet affects my mood, and the more organic the better, I resent your telling me that my Frosted Flakes is what’s causing power outage in the left frontal lobe of my brain.
5. Meditation and yoga are all you need.
While meditation and yoga may be all that people experiencing mild and moderate depression need. Both are important tools to reduce depression. However, acute anxiety and severe depression are different animals altogether.
6. Get a new job.
Stress is never a good thing for our health, and especially our emotional health. It pours toxins into our bloodstream. But don’t encourage a major decision while the person is depressed. A balanced perspective is needed.
7. Are you happy in your relationship?
Again, relationship problems might certainly be triggering the depression, but I’ve talked to too many people who almost left their husbands and wives when they were clinically depressed, thinking that something around them must be the problem. Since a spouse is the closest thing, he or she gets blamed for the mood dips.
8. You have everything you need to get better.
This, of course, implies that all pharmaceutics are toxins that do nothing more than dull your emotions. Guess what? Some forms of modern medicine actually aid recovery!! Seriously! Kind of like chemotherapy for cancer patients, and insulin for diabetes. Would you tell a woman with breast cancer she has everything she needs to get better? No. I didn’t think so.
9. Do you WANT to feel better?
I do think you do have to watch your thoughts, retrain them and retrain them, applying tools for optimism. But I don’t think we can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps without any help every time. Please don’t make the person feel like a failure in addition to depressed.
10. Everyone has problems.
Some people absolutely do have it worse. But that doesn’t make the depressed person’s pain any less real or profound. Chances are if you do bring it up, it will just make them feel weak and pathetic … as if they have no right to feel what they’re feeling, which will, of course, make their depression worse.
Read the original article here: 10 Things Not to Say to a Depressed Person | World of Psychology.