My last post was somber. I will continue with this theme and do a part two.I have avoided writing mental health topics because to me it is very personal and very real. The past several weeks I’ve delt with some nasty stereotypes about mental health. I think I’m going to start writing about it more. This post will be what not say when you have a friend struggling with depression. I will tell you this from my personal experiences of life!
Life is not easy. No, not at all. My readers often say that I’m wise, I don’t know about that. All I’ve done is strived to take what life throws at me and learn from it. To continue on with my post about mental health, I have decided to write about what not to say to a friend who is highly depressed or suicidal. Here’s a short list with some responses.
“Just be happy!” ~ If I could control it, trust me, I would be happy
“Go exercise.” ~ Umm, okay? Now I feel even worse about my body. I understand why someone would say this, BUT you must be careful how you say this!
“You have a faith problem.” ~ Although you can grow closer to Him in the hard times, please don’t ever say this to a Christian who’s struggling with this. It makes the struggle seem downplayed and that it is only a faith problem when depression is a medical problem.
“Get over it.” ~ Trust me, it’s almost impossible to just “brush off” true depression. It plays into every part of one’s life from getting the will power to get out of bed to see relationships with others.
“It’s all in your head! You have the power to be happy, if you want to be.” ~ Well, if you want help you have to be the one who seeks treatment and use the treatment resourcefully. I have wasted so many hours trying to find healing when I didn’t necessarily want it. My parents were the ones who made me seek treatment for a long matter of time before I decided that I didn’t want to be depressed. But you can’t say that it’s “all in your head” because true depression is mentally and physically draining! If you were a close friend, you can probably tell if your friend is constantly sad, even if they are trying to cover it up. I once had a friend say to me, “You say that you are fine but your eyes say another story.” I’m not saying that you can always tell, or that you’re a bad friend if you can’t pick it up. Some people are great actors and, unfortunately, it seems that many people are acting these days.
“Get over it.” ~ It’s an illness. It’s not something that you can just experience immediate healing.
I could write a book about phrases not to say. I think that friends are scared and don’t really know what to say. I think that the phrases mentioned above are typically spoken with good intentions but the person saying it doesn’t understand how dark depression is. I have some helpful words for you.
“I’m here for you, not just in the good times.”
“How can I pray for you?
“Do you need to talk or vent to me?”
“I promise l won’t judge you.”
“Do you need a hug.”
“How are you doing today?”
“Don’t be afraid to call just to talk.”
And finally, “I love you !”
In conclusion, remember that mental health is a sensitive topic. Please be so so sensitive to your friends who are struggling. I love you all!