It seems people who do not have a mental illness tend to invalidate those who do. They do this without even noticing most of the time and it needs to stop.
For me, it happens most often with depression; just because you don’t notice it doesn’t make it okay. Comments that make someone dealing with depression feel invalid can cause a lot of damage. You don’t want to hurt a friend or loved one, so why not try to think about what you are saying and the effects it could have? Even if you have good intentions it does not dismiss the pain you may cause with your words.
Below you will find a list of things you should never say to someone struggling with depression. Unless you have depression as well you don’t understand what it feels like. It is so much more than just being down in the dumps, I cannot stress that enough.
1. “Just snap out of it.”
It is not that easy. If I could I promise I would but I can’t. You telling me to snap out of it is not going to do anything but make me feel guilty for not being able to.
2. “Focus on the positive things in life.”
Depression takes that away from me, I can’t do that. Stop making me feel ungrateful. I appreciate all that I have and yet I am still numb and exhausted. I am not ‘down in the dumps’ because I am focusing on the bad things in life, I am sick. Mental illness is real.
3. “You’ll have fun once you get out, come on!”
Trying to force me into doing things when I am physically and emotionally exhausted is only going to draw me deeper into a depression. You can’t just fix this with a ‘girl’s night out.’ This is much more than you are taking in. I should not be pushed into going out when I am exhausted and can hardly get out of bed. If you must hang out with me, let’s go in the living room, watch TV, and chat alone together.
4. “I get sad sometimes, too.”
Yep, you sure do. Everyone does, but this is not just being sad. This is so much more than just being sad. Depression is being numb to the world and with your mind fighting against me with every breath. I hate myself, I am unmotivated, I lack the will power to even brush my hair. If you have not been depressed before, you do not know what I am going through.
5. “Stop associating yourself with the label and those people who surround it.”
The word depression is not just a ‘label’ it is a diagnosis. It is something that affects millions of people. I am one of those people. I have accepted it and am learning to cope why can’t you?
If you are struggling to understand what someone close to you is going through please don’t say any of the things listed above to them and if you really care, take the time to check out the video below to get a better understanding of depression itself. Depression is a real illness and you should never make anyone feel invalid. If you don’t understand it you shouldn’t be commenting on it.