In no particular order, here is a list of the 10 best and worst things you can say to a person with depression, and the reasons why you should and shouldn’t say them.
Depression isn’t real. At the end of the day, this is just plain ignorant. Depression is a serious illness that can affect every aspect of a person’s life. To belittle it in this way can be extremely offensive.
Just get over it. People don’t enjoy being depressed. If they could just “get over it,” then they would.
You have a mental illness? Then you must be crazy! Again, this is extremely ignorant. Mental illnesses are just like physical illnesses – you treat them and get better. Having depression does not make someone crazy.
I know how you feel. This is OK if you have suffered from depression and you actually do know how the person feels. But if you haven’t, it can be really annoying.
We all have bad days now and then. Depression is far more than just a “bad day”. It is a serious illness that can be life-threatening.
You can’t be depressed – there are so many people in the world who are worse off than you. This is equivalent to saying “you can’t be happy, because there are so many people in the world who are better off than you!” Everyone is entitled to their happiness, in the same way that everyone is entitled to their pain.
It’s all in your head. This just isn’t helpful, and can come across as very dismissive.
Look how lucky you are. Again, depression is an illness. “Lucky” people can suffer too. In fact, if you read my memoir (available for free on my website), you’ll see that it is entirely possible to be very conscious of how “lucky” you are but at the same time feel miserably suicidal.
Just think positive. Even the most positive people in the world can fall victim to depression. If you don’t believe me, again feel free to read my memoir. Over a four year period, I went through countless bouts of depression that almost led me to suicide, but there’s no way that you can read my story and deny that I’m a very positive person. This point goes back to that whole “depression is an illness” thing. Anyone can fall victim – positive people included.
Stop feeling sorry for yourself. For the last time, depression is an illness. It can develop for a myriad of reasons, and certainly doesn’t imply that the sufferer is just wallowing in self-pity.
I love you. People with depression often don’t love themselves, and thus find it impossible to believe that anyone else can. So if you do love someone who happens to suffer from depression, it can do wonders for them when you reiterate it.
I’m here for you. This is what people with depression need – your support.
Is there anything I can do to make you feel better? Again, the best thing you can offer them is your support.
Would you like to talk about what you’re going through? Being willing to listen is great – just make sure you don’t pressure them into talking if they’re not ready to.
I don’t quite understand what you’re going through, but I’m here to support you anyway. If you don’t understand, then that’s OK. Just say so and be there for them – instead of acting like you do.
I’m sorry you’re in pain. This is warm and compassionate and shows you’re on their side.
I’ve suffered from depression myself. If this is actually true – and you’re comfortable saying it – then this can be a great disclosure to make, as it helps the sufferer realize that they’re not alone.
Have you made an appointment to see a doctor? Such a response implicitly acknowledges the person’s pain and also encourages them to seek help – both very good things.
This must be very hard for you, but you’re going to get through this. Reinforcing a positive message can give the sufferer hope.
Is there something we can do together to take your mind off it? Try to encourage them to take part in joyful activities.
How about you? What are the best and worst things you’ve heard when you’ve told someone that you’re suffering from depression?
If you enjoyed reading my post, I encourage you to visit my website at www.depressionisnotdestiny.com and download a FREE copy of The Danny Baker Story – How I came to write ‘I will not kill myself, Olivia’ and found the Depression Is Not Destiny Campaign. It’s my memoir recounting my struggle and eventual triumph over depression, which has been described by multiple-bestselling author Nick Bleszynski as “beautifully written, powerful, heartfelt, insightful and inspiring … a testament to hope.”
We are proud of our SOCIAL INTEREST GROUPS—WEEKLY PHONE CALLS to help discuss and help solve some of the most difficult challenges the world has today. Calls are for Members Only (although you can join the first call for free). Not yet a member of The Good Men Project? Join now!
What Now? Participate. Take Action. Join The Good Men Project Community.
The $50 Platinum Level is an ALL-ACCESS PASS—join as many groups and classes as you want for the entire year. The $25 Gold Level gives you access to any ONE Social Interest Group and ONE Class–and other benefits listed below the form. Or…for $12, join as a Bronze Member and support our mission.
*Payment is by PayPal or Stripe, if you prefer.
Please note: If you are already a writer/contributor at The Good Men Project, log in here before registering. (Request new password if needed).
Your ANNUAL PLATINUM membership includes:
1. Free and UNLIMITED ACCESS to participate in ANY of our new Social Interest Groups. We have active communities of like-minded individuals working to change the world on important issues. Weekly facilitated calls that lead to execution of real world strategies for change. Complete schedule here, with new ones starting all the time. We now offer 500 calls a year!
2. Free and UNLIMITED ACCESS to ALL LIVE CLASSES. Learn how build your own platform, be a better writer, become an edit or create social change. Check out our training sessions. As a Platinum member, you can take them all.
3. Invitation to the MEMBERS ONLY Good Men Project Community on Facebook. Connect with other members, network and carry the conversation no one else is having one step further.
4. Access to our PREMIUM MEMBER LIBRARY with our recorded ConvoCasts and classes. ConvoCasts are a new form of media—and you are in them! Only Platinum Members get access to our recordings. And recordings of our classes are really valuable for those who do not have time to take the live classes or just want to review.
5. An ad-free experience. No banner, pop-up, or video ads when you log in.
6. Weekly conference calls with the publisher and other community members. Our weekly calls discuss the issues we see happening in the world of men in a friendly group setting.
7. PLATINUM member commenting badge. Your comments on our website will appear with a platinum member badge, signifying you are a part of our core community.
Price for ANNUAL PLATINUM membership is $50/year.
Your ANNUAL GOLD membership will include:
1. Free access to any ONE Social Interest Groups.Try them out! We have active communities of like-minded individuals working to change the world on important issues. Weekly facilitated calls that lead to execution of real world strategies for change. Complete schedule here, with new ones starting all the time.
2. Free access to any ONE of our live classes. Each month, we have the following: Learn how to be a Rising Star in media, build your own platform, become an advanced writer, become an editor or create social change. Check out our classes here. RSVP for any one class—if you want to take more, just upgrade to an Annual Platinum Membership.
3. Invitation to the MEMBER-ONLY Good Men Project Community on Facebook and all Weekly Conference calls with the Publisher and community. Connect with other members online and by phone!
4. An ad-free experience. No banner, pop-up, or video ads when you are logged in—as long as your membership is active.
5. GOLD commenting badge. Your comments on our website will appear with a gold member badge, signifying you are a part of our core community.
Price for ANNUAL GOLD membership is $25/year.
Your ANNUAL BRONZE membership will include:
1. Invitation to the MEMBER-ONLY Good Men Project Community on Facebook and weekly conference calls with the publisher and community. Connect with other members, network and carry the conversation no one else is having one step further.
2. A listing on our Friends of The Good Men Project page. Your support of our mission is noted and appreciated. See the page here!
3. An ad-free experience. No banner, pop-up, or video ads when you are logged in—as long as your membership is active.
4. BRONZE member commenting badge. Your comments on our website will appear with a bronze member badge, signifying you are a part of our core community.
Price for ANNUAL BRONZE membership is $12/year.
We have groups and calls across a range of issues:
We have pioneered the largest worldwide conversation about what it means to be a good man in the 21st century. Your support of our work is inspiring and invaluable.
Price for ANNUAL BRONZE membership is $12/year.
“Here’s the thing about The Good Men Project. We are trying to create big, sweeping, societal changes—–overturn stereotypes, eliminate racism, sexism, homophobia, be a positive force for good for things like education reform and the environment. And we’re also giving individuals the tools they need to make individual change—-with their own relationships, with the way they parent, with their ability to be more conscious, more mindful, and more insightful. For some people, that could get overwhelming. But for those of us here at The Good Men Project, it is not overwhelming. It is simply something we do—–every day. We do it with teamwork, with compassion, with an understanding of systems and how they work, and with shared insights from a diversity of viewpoints.” —– Lisa Hickey, Publisher of The Good Men Project and CEO of Good Men Media Inc.