When someone confides in you about their struggle with depression, it can be a difficult and emotional conversation. It’s natural to want to offer support and help, but it’s important to be mindful of what you say and do. Here are 10 things to avoid when dealing with someone who tells you they are suffering from depression:
- Don’t try to “fix” them: It’s not your responsibility to “fix” someone’s depression, and it’s not something that can be fixed with a simple solution. Instead, focus on listening and offering support.
- Don’t dismiss their feelings: It’s easy to say things like “cheer up” or “think positive,” but these kinds of statements invalidate someone’s feelings and make it seem like you don’t understand what they are going through.
- Don’t compare their depression to your own experiences: Every person’s experience with depression is different, and it’s important to respect that. Comparing your own experiences to someone else’s can be hurtful and unhelpful.
- Don’t blame them for their depression: Depression is a medical condition, not something that someone can control or bring on themselves. Blaming someone for their depression can be damaging and only adds to their feelings of guilt and worthlessness.
- Don’t tell them to “just snap out of it”: Depression is not something that can be overcome through sheer willpower. It requires treatment and support. Telling someone to “just snap out of it” is unhelpful and dismissive.
- Don’t give unsolicited advice: It’s natural to want to offer suggestions or solutions, but it’s important to remember that everyone’s experience with depression is different. Unless someone specifically asks for advice, it’s best to avoid giving unsolicited suggestions.
- Don’t judge them: It’s easy to judge someone for struggling with depression, but it’s important to remember that it’s a medical condition that can affect anyone. Avoid judging someone for their struggles and instead, offer compassion and understanding.
- Don’t try to “cheer them up” with jokes or distractions: It’s understandable to want to lift someone’s mood, but making jokes or trying to distract someone from their depression is not a helpful way to do it. It’s important to validate their feelings and offer genuine support.
- Don’t neglect your own well-being: It’s important to take care of yourself when supporting someone with depression. Don’t neglect your own needs and make sure to seek support and self-care as needed.
- Don’t forget to follow up: It’s important to follow up with someone after they confide in you about their depression. Check-in with them regularly to see how they are doing and offer continued support.
If you follow these tips, you can be a supportive and helpful presence for someone struggling with depression. Remember to listen, offer compassion, and respect their feelings, and you can make a positive difference in their life.