‘Words can inspire. And words can destroy. Choose yours well.’ – Robin Sharma
Do you sometimes find yourself saying the wrong things to someone that is depressed and end up hurting the personsfeelings? If your answer is yes then you need to read this carefully.
When you don’t understand what depression is, you might not always know the appropriate words to say and might end upsounding judgmental, insensitive, or harsh sometimes.
We have established the signs and symptoms of depression in the previous post as it is important for everyone to know what it is.
“Therefore depression is a persistent feeling of sadness or worthlessness, loss of interest just to mention a few which can be a result of loneliness, stress, family, societal or peer pressure,helplessness, and so on.“
We must be intentional and careful with our choice of words when speaking to a depressed person because in as much we want them to feel better, we need to be sure we are saying the right things.
Some of the things we shouldn’t do or say to a depressed person are:
• Don’t disregard their feelings or tell them how to feelinstead applaud them for their courage for seeking help. It takes courage to speak about personal pains.
• Don’t tell them to try harder to feel better or snap out of it. You don’t know the effort they have made to feel better.
• Don’t use judgmental words. Listen to understand and not to comment or correct. Sometimes it okay not to say anything and just listen.
• Don’t express disbelief or doubt. Avoid using words like ‘you don’t look depressed’, ‘but you have everything, ‘are you sure you are not exaggerating’, what more do you need’ or ‘are you sure you are depressed’. The aim is to help and not to add to the problem you are trying to help solve. Only a few people are not afraid of telling people about their feelings. It is usually hard for someone to show or express emotions or feelings so as not to be seen as weak, incompetent, etc.
• Don’t dismiss their pains. Don’t conclude by saying ‘it can‘t be that bad’, ‘it could have been worse’ or ‘your case is even better’. Everyone is different and handles situations differently, so don’t be tempted to make comparisons but instead express understanding, listen, and ask how you can help and be supportive.
• Don’t blame them for the state they are in. Don’t say words like ‘you are overthinking’, “you are just imagining things’, ‘you shouldn’t have made that decision’ or ‘you are the cause of it’. Instead help them to overcome the pains, orassist them to find help.
• Don’t shame them. Avoid using words like ‘you are not the only one with a problem’ or ‘I have problems I am dealing with too’. This will pass the wrong message of you been self-centered and not acknowledging their pain. When someone confides in you about a problem, it is not time to talk about your struggles and pains, but to help and if you can not help, you can always direct them to someone who can help.
• Don’t ignore them. Be patient and ready to listen and understand. This can save a life
Stay mindful of the words you say because it can make a huge difference in the healing process of a depressed person. Be the solution to the problem not the cause of more problems.
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