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David Baxter

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Ways to Insult Someone with Depression
Saturday, May 26th, 2007

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.?
  • ?Just snap out of it!?
  • ?Pull yourself together.?
  • ?Who said that life is fair??
  • ?You just have to get on with things.?
  • ?At least it?s not that bad.?
  • ?Stop feeling sorry for yourself.?
  • ?You have so many things. What do you have to feel down about??
  • ?You just need to cheer up.?
  • ?Quit trying to be a martyr.?
  • ?Stop taking all those medicines.?
  • ?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.?
  • ?Go out and buy yourself some clothes. That will pick you up.?
  • ?Are you sure you don?t have a mental problem??
  • ?How about I cook you a good meal. That will make things better.?
  • ?Have you tried acupuncture??
  • ?Get a job!?

And the all time best:

  • ?Why don?t you try not being depressed.?
 

David Baxter

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Things to Say to Someone With Depression
Sunday, August 12th, 2007

1. Be On Their Side
  • The depressed person will often be defensive, so an accusatory tone is not helpful. Try to convey a sense of understanding. It isn?t helpful to say ?Why can?t you just get out of bed?? Instead try ?You seem to have trouble getting out of bed in the mornings. What can I do to help you in this area??
  • The person may have lost perspective on how big a problem actually is. They will find it hard to hear that what is insurmountable for them is actually not such a big deal. It is unhelpful to say ?What?s your problem? You?re upset about nothing.? Instead try ?You seem to be finding this issue a big deal at the moment. Can we solve it together??
  • When I was very sick, I often thought that my wife was trying to ruin my life. To counter that kind of thinking she would often say ?We are a team. I am on your side.?
  • Depression is an awful illness, a whole world away from pure sympathy-seeking. So you should treat it as such. ?I trust you. If you had a choice in the matter you wouldn?t choose to have depression. How about we search for some solutions together??
2. Give Plenty of Reassurance

  • Many people suffering with depression feel unworthy of being loved. You need to reassure them frequently. For example ?I love you for who you are. I am not going to leave you.?
  • In a similar vein, they may have lost the ability to recognize their positive attributes. You might reaffirm them with ?You are a sensitive person who cares for others? or ?People really love you a lot. They think you?re a great person.?
  • If said repeatedly and with absolute sincerity then it is helpful to say ?If you ever need a friend, I am here.?
3. Give Understanding and Sympathy

  • People with depression can spend a lot of time ruminating on their situation and feeling sorry for themselves. Pointing it out to them is not helpful. Instead, try to sympathize.
  • ?I can?t imagine how hard it is for you, but you have all my sympathy.?
  • ?All I want to do is give you a hug and a shoulder to cry on.?
  • ?I can?t honestly say that I know how you feel, but I want to help in any way I can.?
4. Offer to Help

  • ?Let me do anything you need me to do to help.?
  • If you ask ?What is the best thing I can do to help you right now?? don?t be offended if the reply is ?Leave me alone?. Sometimes, that is the most helpful thing you can do at present.
  • Well meaning people often attempt to immediately fix the problem. ?Have you tried aromatherapy? There was an article about it in the paper?? . This kind of comment can come across as trivializing the illness. If you want to introduce a treatment idea, make sure you are respectful about the seriousness of depression. ?It?s important that you stay on your medication and keep seeing your doctor. I?ve found some information on aromatherapy. Would you like to look into it with me??
  • While it is important to accept the person in the state they are in, don?t let it totally consume your life. Otherwise, you?ll fall in a heap and won?t be much help to anyone. You need to take care of yourself. ?I am committed to you and to helping you. But I also need to eat / shop / go out for coffee / ring a friend / see a movie to recharge my batteries. Then I can look after you better.?
 

ladylore

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I remember getting the "life isn't fair" and all the derivatives of what life is really about.

Made things much worse - If I wasn't that depressed before I was after that person finished talking. :frown:
 

Halo

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I personally have heard these ones:

  • ?Life isn?t meant to be easy.?
  • ?Just snap out of it!?
  • ?At least it?s not that bad.?
  • ?You have so many things. What do you have to feel down about??
  • ?You just need to cheer up.?
  • ?Stop taking all those medicines.? (which was my favourite :rolleyes: )
  • ?What you need is a good kick up the backside.?
  • ?How about I cook you a good meal. That will make things better.?

It really is interesting how incredibly cruel people that don't understand can be.
 

lallieth

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I have heard all of these in regards to anxiety disorder..The one I get the most is "stop taking all those medicines..In fact someone tried to tell me today about anxiety disorder being " a lack of something spiritual within me" and they had a natural way of getting rid of my anxiety..I told them politely,that I have tried just about everything from natural to supernatural,and I will stick with my anti-depressants thanks very much"
 

sunset

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Hmmmm. Dr Phil needs to read this. He had a guy on his show who has been depressed for the last 8 yrs, and Dr Phil told him he needed to lighten up. LOL. They were discussing it on talk radio this morning..

Oh, I have gotten the snap out if it one myself. Duh!
 

braveheart

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Random men driving white vans who shout 'cheer up'. Really make me want to ... do something nasty to their van!

And, as for the people who yelled 'cheer up, it might never happen' I said 'it already did.' that shut them up!
 

Banned

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I've had "I don't understand what you possibly have to be depressed about" and "You have no reason to be depressed - you have everything" and "It's all in your head".

Today I am more depressed than I have been in a long time, so I just dare anybody to say anything to me :argue:
 

lallieth

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I've had "I don't understand what you possibly have to be depressed about" and "You have no reason to be depressed - you have everything" and "It's all in your head".
That one,BG really annoys me...with the added "you have so much,wonderful family blah blah,you should be happy and content"
 

possum

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I was diagnosed with depression in sept. I am on effexor and clonazepam and I also work hard on other ways of overcoming depression- I eat alot of very healthy foods (vegetables and fruits), have cut out caffeine entirely and almost no alcohol at all, I exercise alot which helps immensely, socialise with good friends, I use a S.A.D. light in the winter months, I try to get enough sleep, I study and apply cognitive behavioural therapy techniques, and being an artist I have finally gotten back to being creative and painting/illustrating- integral to my sense of well being.

Things are going well but it has been a hard year- and my family doesn't know (only 3 very close friends know).

I hesitate to tell anyone because in september, when I was quite depressed and losing weight, I was told to "snap out of it".

Also my aunt spent many years being very seriously depressed (she was hospitalised many times and received electro-shock therapy) and I remember what was said about her- things like "what does she have to be depressed about? she has a good life.." and again the "she should just snap out of it..."

I wish there wasn't such a stigma around depression. I actually feel proud of being able to overcome so much in the last year and nobody in my family knows anything about it.
 

ladylore

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Hi Possum

Welcome to the forum :welcome2:

You have done a tremendous amount of work and its good that you are proud of yourself. You deserve it.:goodjob:

There are some very empathetic people out there but at times unless you have been through a depressive episode you yourself, you just don't know bad it feels.

I am glad you are feeling better. Hope to see you around. :)
 

possum

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Hi Ladylore!

Thanks so much for your kind response!!! Much appreciated!

Yes you're right, unless you've been through it yourself you wouldn't really know how it feels....

Cheers, Possum
 

David Baxter

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That's sad, possum. But I wonder if you're giving your family enough credit. There has been a lot more information about depression in the media in the last few years which may have raised awareness among your family members.
 

lallieth

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hi Possum :)

I have to mirror what Dr Baxter said,in that,perhaps you aren't giving your family enough credit and trust in them to tell them how you are feeling and what you have gone through.Families can be wonderful supporters,however perhaps at a later date you will get some signs from them,that they are ready to hear and understand better what you have gone through

Kudos to you for doing so well and I wish you continued success :)
 

sunset

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Ya know, that burns me up when they say "Snap out of it". Like a person REALLY wants to be depressed. sheesh.:hissyfit: Next time I hear that out of anyone, I will ask them, just how the heck does a person just snap out of it. Do tell....:smack:
 

Halo

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Say to them....if snapping my fingers were that easy don't you think that I would have already done that...duh! :rolleyes:
 

SoSo

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Even though this is an older post, just had to add to it, the thing I hate to hear the most.

"God will not give us more that we can handle"

God has nothing to do with what people do to us. God did not come to my parents and tell them to abuse me beyond all belief or for my father to molest me. No, that is not God. For some reason that one bothers me most of all:hair:.
Feisty:hide:
 

ladylore

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That one really bothers me to but for a different reason.

For me I read it as I must be one of the strongest so and so's alive for God to have put me through so much. If that is the case I'd rather be weak thank you.
 

Misha

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I've had that one hugely twisted in my face. I used to work at my church and now basically everyone there is of the opinion that I have too much sin and demonic influence in my life, and that I've "chosen" to have more than I can handle by willingly regecting Gods will. Ouch.
 

David Baxter

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Even though this is an older post, just had to add to it, the thing I hate to hear the most.

"God will not give us more that we can handle"

That one's always bothered me, too. My instant reaction is, "How do you know?". People say things like this, not God. It seems a little arrogant to me for humans to presume what God does or does not do.
 

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