With over 300 million people worldwide facing depression, it is safe to say that we have an epidemic on our hands. And with some of the things that are happening right now, it is not hard to believe why.
Everything you do from the way you interact with the people that are around you, to the way you sleep and even move depression changed pretty much everything. This change is noticeable especially in the way you write and speak. If you have ever heard the phrase “language of depression” you will know it has a powerful effect on others.
Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari offers a deep dive into the underlying causes of depression and provides surprising insights and solutions.
Think about your favorite musicians who have sadly passed: Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley, or Chester Bennington. What did their most popular songs say to you? The way they wrote was a major indicator of how they were feeling inside, and their lives sadly ended with suicide after struggling with depression for many years.
A new study, published in Clinical Psychological Science has now unveiled a class of words that can accurately predict whether someone has depression. Some of the more common words of phrases talked about in the study are highlighted below. Obviously, if you are not a medical professional, you cannot diagnose a disease such as depression. However, if you pay attention to the words your loved ones use, you could potentially have a lasting impact on their lives.
The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression by Andrew Solomon is a remarkable blend of research, memoir, and cultural analysis, offering a nuanced view of the complexities of depression.
Common Words and Phrases That May Signal Depression:
“Me,” “myself,” and “I”
This pattern of pronoun suggests people with depression are more focused on themselves, and less connected with the people around them. These negative pronouns are actually more reliable in identifying depression than negative emotion words, according to researchers.
“Always” and “never”
The study found that people with prominent symptoms of depression tended to talk in absolutionists language. So, if you ever hear a loved one repeatedly saying things like, “Things like this always happen” or “I’m never going to be able to do this,” pay attention.
Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns provides practical cognitive behavioral therapy techniques that have helped millions change the way they think and feel about themselves.
Always focusing on the things you “should” or “should” not be doing is part of the black-and-white thinking that is heavily associated with depression.
“Thoughts of self-loathing and a negative self-image often occur in depression, so the ‘shoulds’ are a symptom of this narrowed and rigid kind of thinking,” Dr. Serani says.
This one is tricky because people with depression often literally “can’t” do the dishes or “can’t” get out of bed – and of course, they “can’t” just snap out of it.
“A lot of depressed individuals also use the word ‘can’t’ a lot as in I can’t do this, I can’t get this done, I can’t feel better, I can’t get my work done, I can’t get out of bed, I can’t get things to be good,” Dr. Serani says. “The illness of depression has foreclosed the possibility of many, many things.”
One of the major signs of high functioning depression is the thought that you are coping or “fine”. A Women’s Health survey found that many women make an effort to hide their depression from friends and family, rather than trying to get help for it. If you have a loved one who is always “fine” you should be paying more attention. People who use this phrase could feel too weak or vulnerable to ask for help.
“What’s the point?”
Depression is sadly one of the most deadly diseases because all of these feelings can become overwhelming and make you want to give up on life.
“If you think there is no way to feel better, and nothing can change, you want it to end,” Dr. Serani says. “So, you believe that death is the way to make things better.”
Loved ones who express a pointlessness to live, feeling trapped, or that they “can’t go on,” might already be having thoughts of suicide.
The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time by Alex Korb Ph.D. presents a look into how small life changes can lead to a significant upward spiral out of depression.
While there are a lot of words and phrases highlighted here, you can find more by clicking here.
If you or anyone you know is contemplating suicide, here are some resources that could be helpful:
-Call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255
-Chat with National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at chat.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
-Text HOME to 741741 to chat with a trained crisis counselor connected to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline