Ten things to say, and not to say, to someone who is depressed.
- “You’re not alone in this. I am here for you.” What NOT to say: There’s always someone worse off than you are.
- “You matter. You are important to me.” What NOT to say: No one ever said that life was fair.
- “Let me help. Do you want a hug?” What NOT to say: Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
- “Depression is real. You are not going crazy.” What NOT to say: So you’re depressed. Aren’t you always?
- “There is hope. We are not on this earth to see through one another, but to see one another through.” What NOT to say: Try not to be so depressed.
- ‘You can survive this. When all this is over, I’ll still be here and so will you.” What NOT to say: It’s your own fault.
- “I can’t really understand what you are feeling, but I can offer my compassion.” What NOT to say: Believe me, I know how you feel. I was depressed once for several days.
- “I’m not going anywhere.” What NOT to say: I think your depression is a way of punishing us.
- “I love you.” (Say this only if you mean it.) What NOT to say: Haven’t you grown tired of all this “me, me, me” stuff yet?
- “I’m sorry that you’re in so much pain. I am not going to leave you. I am going to take care of myself, so you don’t need to worry that your pain might hurt me.” What NOT to say: Have you tried chamomile tea?
Don’t stop treatment
Doctors recommend taking medication for six to nine months after symptoms lift and you start to feel stable. The decision to end therapy or medication should be made with your doctor’s help. “Some drugs, if you go off them, may not work for you again when you go back on them—(there’s no) guarantee that if it worked once, it will work next time,” says Dr. Sanacora. For some people, the best way to prevent a relapse is to continue treatment.