Originally published on my Hubpages.
Chances are you know someone or you are someone who is anguished by depression. If you are someone with depression, I hope that, as a fellow sufferer, these statements offer you some relief from your sadness. Should you be someone questing for a means of supporting a friend or family member with this condition, you’re on the right path for finding the correct words to say.
Depression is a sensitive matter. We can look at it as someone being unduly sad over a situation and tell them to “cheer up” or “just get over it already.” But depression is not something you can just switch off. To quote HelpGuide.org: “Don’t underestimate the seriousness of depression. Depression drains a person’s energy, optimism, and motivation. Your depressed loved one can’t just ‘snap out of it’ by sheer force of will.”
Depression alters an individual’s reality, distorts their moods, and in the long run, changes their biochemistry. Yet, you don’t have to walk on eggshells around them either. The keys for getting through these trails is to be an active listener, a compassionate speaker, and open minded.
Here are 4 phrases to tell yourself or someone who’s depressed:
1. You might not think it, but you’re strong.
Those who are depressed do not only feel sad emotionally, their body undergoes serious physiological damage. Pain radiates throughout their body. Depression drains their will to go on. They may move slowly, rigidly, as if trapped inside a viscous bubble. By telling a person who’s depressed that they are strong, you are giving them the inspiration to keep moving despite the pain.
2. You inspire me.
When you’re depressed, you feel like you are beneath the dirt in terms of value. You don’t think of yourself as successful or having some kind of societal worth. When a depressed person hears that they’ve inspired someone to do something, no matter how big or small, it readjusts their mind frame. Though the outright response might be one of incredulity, the receiver of this compliment will no doubt feel joy at knowing they were of value to another person.
3. You will overcome this, and I will help you.
Depression is hard fought battle. If you triumph in one battlefield, the next will no doubt come at you infinitely more ferocious than the last. Remind the person of their life when you console them with these words. Remind them of outstanding successes or of the little things that make them smile. Tell them stories that get them to chuckle.
Give them support, but also give them space when you can feel the a wall rising. Sometimes the best way to say you’re there for someone is to sit in the silence with them.
Also, never underestimate the power of a gentle touch or embrace.
4. You might think you’re alone, but you’re not.
Tying into Number 3, when an individual suffering from depression is at a low point, they feel quartered off from the rest of the human population. “I’m nothing,” “I’m just bothering them,” “I’m a waste,” and “I’m better off alone/dead” are all presumptions that run through their mind. Simply offering that you are willing to stand in the dark with them, will be there with a candle to guide them home if they need it, is a marvelous beacon of hope.
Of course, there is only so much you can do for a depressed family member or friend. Do not overextend yourself in an attempt to repair their mood and ruin yours.
Recovering from depression requires perseverance and persistence. Regardless of your position when handling depression, remember the following:
1. Provide assistance to the individual, but only if they want it.
If you are the person being offered assistance, do give the person at least a moment of their time. Be open minded.
2. Be realistic.
Oftentimes, we find ourselves saddened when what’s expected does not go the way we wanted. This inflexibility can create unneeded stress within the caregiver and the receiver. Don’t resist the vicissitudes of life. Go with the flow.
3. Accept the gift of encouragement when you are depressed. Stay active and optimistic when giving said support. By expressing your energy and joy to a depressed individual, you are inviting them to feel happiness too.
(The list was adapted from HelpGuide.org – a leading resource on mental health issues)
Turn that Sad Panda into…
You can recover from depression.
Don’t let your depressed friends and family members be ships lost out on the misty sea of life. If you know what to say, even if it’s just a word or two, you can help them through the storm raging inside.
And to those who are depressed, you will survive. I believe in you.