There are many ways to insult someone with depression, without even trying very hard. The best way is to give them some unsolicited advice. Something that you think is simple, yet profound, and potentially life changing. But said in ignorance. Nothing cuts deeper to someone with depression, than when their illness, which is serious, is trivialized by another who doesn’t understand it.
Here are the some of the terrible things that people say:
“This is what life is like. Get used to it.”
“Life isn’t meant to be easy.”
“Pull yourself together.”
“You just have to get on with things.”
“At least it’s not that bad.”
“You just need to cheer up.”
“Quit trying to be a martyr.”
“I know how you feel. I’ve been depressed for whole days at a time.”
“You don’t like feeling that way? So change it!”
These are my favorites:
“What you need is a good kick up the backside.”
“Stop feeling sorry for yourself.”
“Get a job!”
“Who said that life is fair?”
“Just snap out of it!”
“If you’re really that miserable, just off yourself”.
And the all time best:
“Why don’t you try not being depressed.”
I know Depression very well. Recently someone said to me, “You know there comes a time in your life, when you just have to sit down and decide what is important to you.” That was supposed to be helpful?
I can’t just wake up some morning and decide I’m not going to be depressed today, it just doesn’t work that way. People can’t see a wheelchair or me holding a cane so they don’t see anything wrong with me. Its not like the depression people get when a loved one dies, you lose a job, or a family pet dies, it is way more serious, and doesn’t just go away with time.
I have major depression which means I get depressed for absolutely no reason at all. Nothing is wrong, no one has run over my dog, or altered my perception of myself. My brain simply does not receive enough chemicals that it need to maintain a healthy state of mind. This is were the ‘just snap out of it’ falls flat on its face and becomes hurtful.
In my mind its like have a radio station in my head playing nothing but songs like ‘You‘re A Loser!, Concrete Angel, Because of You, Tears in Heaven, Nobody Knows, Broken, Never had a Dream Come True’ and so on. I guess I’ve got to learn how to fire that DJ sitting up there playing all those records, and instead but on some positive music.
Most of the time when I am in deep depression, I want to totally left alone to rot in my own deeply dug hole. Still if said repeatedly and with absolute sincerity then it is helpful to say “If you ever need a friend, I am here.”