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Living With A Patient Of Depression: Know What To Say and What Not To Say!

“Depression is being colorblind and constantly being told how colorful the world is!” It is very true that one of the most difficult times a person could ever cross in life is depression. It is the time when a person feels isolated, too much depressed and feels helpless; and it is during this time when the love and support of dear ones is most required. If you are one of those living with a patient of depression then you definitely need to read this article that talk about what to say and what not to say to a patient of depression. Hope you can get some benefit from this post.

Living With A Patient Of Depression: Know What To Say And What Not To!

Isn’t it like when we feel totally helpless, we feel someone would comfort us with their supportive words? The same happens with a patient of depression. However, we need to know that words play a crucial role in someone’s life who is struggling with depression. So, words must be spoken in the right manner and we must also know what words must not be said in front of a depression patient. So, let’s dive deeper in to this.

What To Say To Someone Suffering From Depression?

“I Am Here For You”:

You simply need to know someone struggling with depression that you are there with them and you are there to make them feel quite comfortable even with their condition. You need to express your love to a patient of depression and make them believe that you are always ready to talk with them and know them more when they are actually in a need to communicate with someone.

“I Love You”:

A patient of depression can feel really alone, helpless, and very much upset; and this can really be horrible. You might not be able to provide them the perfect solution to their mental illness, but you can make them know that you actually love them. Sometimes, simply saying “I love you” makes them know that you really support them irrespective of the condition that they are going through.

“Do You Want Some Space?”:

It is absolutely right that you need to be present in a depression patient’s life and make sure that they are not left isolated. However, it is sometimes essential for them to let them have their own space so as to recharge themselves. You simply need to say them, “Do you want some space?” If they feel like staying alone for sometime then let them be alone but keep a watch on them without their knowledge.

“Take As Long As You Want”:

Patients of depression might usually take longer time to take shower, to have their meal, to perform their daily activities. However, you do not need to make the patient feel like they are taking too long to perform any work, even their daily tasks. You just need to make them comfortable by letting them know that they can take as long as they want. That makes them feel good and develops confidence in their self.

“No Need To Do Anything That Makes You Uncomfortable”:

Sometimes a depression patient might get uncomfortable at various situations, especially social gathering, or at any event. You need to make them believe that it’s absolutely okay not to perform anything or be at a gathering where they do not feel comfortable. This makes the person feel pretty relaxed.

“Everything Is Going To Be OKAY!”

This sounds pretty simple; however for a patient of depression this can actually soothe their mood. This would calm the patients quite gently and they also get confidence to do better with their conditions.

“You Are A Nice Person”:

One of the most common feelings with a patient of depression is guilt. It is very usual that a patient of depression might always feel guilty for everything, mostly because of the condition. However, you need to say them that they are not wrong and they are really nice.

“I Don’t Think You Are Crazy”:

You must say this in order to remind your loved ones suffering from depression that though they have their illness, it can be treated and they are not crazy or someone unwanted.

“It’s Not Your Fault”:

A depression patient generally feels that they have a complex issue and that it is their fault and they do not find easy to fix the issue. Well, it’s obvious that the problem might take years to resolve; however, make them very much clear that it is not their fault.

“You Are Not A Burden”:

Most of the times a patient of depression feel they are a burden on their friends and family because of a lot of things. However, you need to make them feel that they are not a burden and they can ask for help any time they require. This way they start feeling comfortable with you.

What Not To Say to Someone Suffering from Depression:

You must be also very much careful while conversing with a patient of depression and take of certain words or phrases while talking with them. In order to make them feel good you need to say some inspiring and consoling words and simultaneously must avoid some phrases or words. Let’s check out what all you must not say to a patient of depression.

“Come On, Cheer Up!”:

You might feel that “Cheer up” might feel friendly and quite supportive for a patient of depression. However, someone who is depressed cannot feel the happiness as the person is overloaded with feelings of sadness.

Just like a depressed person cannot force the brain to make enough of serotonin hormone, they cannot even decide to remain “happy”. Though there are some benefits of practicing positive thinking,(1) It is not enough to cure the condition of depression.

“You Don’t Look Depressed!”:

It must be noted that how one appears on the outside necessarily does not reflect how exactly they feel on their inside. It is true that mental illnesses, such as clinical depression sometimes seem to be invisible. And patients of depression usually try very hard to reflect happiness on their face and they hide their real feeling. However, one must understand how they feel from inside with depression and avoid saying, “You don’t look depressed.”

In fact you must not say anything that would reflect a kind of disbelief or doubt; as it might make the patients feel unsafe to talk about depression.

This can even make them doubt on themselves. When combined with stigma that is attached to mental illness or depression, the feelings of doubt might make them extremely reluctant to seek medical help or necessary treatments.(2)

“You Think Of It And You Have It Bad”:

You need to know that patients of depression lack any kind of internal resource that is required to cope up with stress in a healthy and effective manner.(3) You must help them to cope up with the condition by avoiding saying, “you think of it and you have it bad.” They actually do not know how to rule out the unwanted thoughts from their mind and you need to understand that. Talk to them politely and avoid any such phrase that can make them feel even more depressed.

“Try Harder”:

One of the most important things you need to know that a patient of depression, tries actually the best to come out of the condition. It is not that the person loves to be with the condition. But, the condition is actually a serious one and it needs a lot of time and expert medical help to come out of it. So, simply saying a depressed patient, ‘Try harder” is like demoralizing them and making the patient feel actually hopeless.

One must understand that just like in case of a patient with diabetes cannot actually think of producing more of insulin, a person of depression where the condition is due to low levels of neurotransmitter, cannot simply think of producing more of it and come out of the condition. You need to understand this.

“It’s Just In Your Head”:

No, it is not just in their head. Someone with depression when listen to the phrase, “It’s just in your head”; starts feeling attacked and they start lying about how actually they feel.

Apart from this, depression is not just in a person’s head; it is also in their body as there are various physical symptoms of depression too. Some of these symptoms include chronic pain, and fatigue, that needs to have a proper treatment. There are environmental factors too that result in depression and it is even believed that genetics also play a significant role in occurrence of depression.

“Who Cares?”:

A patient of depression may have feelings of shame and guilt. These persons might feel like they are a burden to people and such feelings can actually make depression even worse and might lead to self harming behaviors and suicidal thoughts.(4)

You might feel actually frustrated and worried while taking care of a depression patient. You might show a sign like you are burnt out. You might start saying or thinking; ‘Who cares?” about the feelings or thoughts of a depression patient. You need to keep in mind not to say it.

However, you need to take care of your own mental and emotional health so that you can help someone else. Whenever you feel frustrated or quite helpless, do talk to your doctor and take necessary help.

“You Just Think About Yourself And No One Else”:

It might seem that depression patients are too much preoccupied with their own thoughts or own life; however that does not make them any selfish. You need to stop or avoid saying, “You just think about yourself and no one else.”

“I Don’t Understand You.”:

Patients of depression might sometimes make you feel really frustrating. But they are not doing this knowingly. Sometimes you do not exactly understand them, but it’s okay. You need to calm down and be patient with them or try to listen them properly. Saying; “I don’t understand you”, can make them feel very low and helpless.

“Let It Go”:

It must be made clear that it is not actually easy for a patient of depression to ‘Let go” of their condition or any of the past trauma that might have resulted in such a condition. So, you need not have to push them to forget their past or focus on their future and do the best in their present moment. All these might make them feel wrong and worry. So, saying “Let it go!” is not that okay in case of a patient of depression.

Take Away:

So, be known that a patient of depression is struggling very hard to live. The feeling in the condition of depression is not at all easy to hold on and in this state one needs your utmost love, care and support. You need to be there for them if you love them and you also need to take care of the things that you must say and must not say to a patient of depression.

NOTE: If you are extremely frustrated or feeling low while taking care of the depressed patient, you should talk to doctor and also must take essential help from any of your family member or friends.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:November 6, 2021

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