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Thread: Best and Worst Things to Say to Someone Who is Depressed: Worst things

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Alberta, Canada

    Best and Worst Things to Say to Someone Who is Depressed: Worst things

    Best and Worst Things to Say to Someone Who is Depressed
    Worst things to say to someone who is depressed

    Some people trivialize depression (often unintentionally) by dropping a platitude on a depressed person as if that is the one thing they needed to hear. While some of these thoughts have been helpful to some people (for example, some find that praying is very helpful), the context in which they are often said mitigates any intended benefit to the hearer. Platitudes don't cure depression.

    Here is the list from contributors to asd:

    0. "What's your problem?"

    1. "Will you stop that constant whining? What makes you think that anyone cares?"

    2. "Have you gotten tired yet of all this me-me-me stuff?"

    3. "You just need to give yourself a kick in the rear."

    4. "But it's all in your mind."

    5. "I thought you were stronger than that."

    6. "No one ever said life was fair."

    7. "As you get stronger you won't have to wallow in it as much."

    8. "Pull yourself up by your bootstraps."

    9. "Do you feel better now?" (Usually said following a five minute conversation in which the speaker has asked me "what's wrong?" and "would you like to talk about it?" with the best of intentions, but absolutely no understanding of depression as anything but an irrational sadness.)

    10. "Why don't you just grow up?"

    11. "Stop feeling sorry for yourself."

    12. "There are a lot of people worse off than you."

    13. "You have it so good, why aren't you happy?"

    14. "It's a beautiful day!"

    15. "You have so many things to be thankful for, why are you depressed?"

    16. "What do you have to be depressed about."

    17. "Happiness is a choice."

    18. "You think you've got problems..."

    19. "Well at least it's not that bad."

    20. "Maybe you should take vitamins for your stress."

    21. "There is always somebody worse off than you are."

    22. "Lighten up!"

    23. "You should get off all those pills."

    24. "You are what you think."

    25. "Cheer up!"

    26. "You're always feeling sorry for yourself."

    27. "Why can't you just be normal?"

    28. "Things aren't *that* bad, are they?"

    29. "Have you been praying/reading the Bible?"

    30. "You need to get out more."

    31. "We have to get together some time." [Yeah, right!]

    32. "Get a grip!"

    33. "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."

    34. "Take a hot bath. That's what I always do when I'm upset."

    35. "Well, everyone gets depressed sometimes!"

    36. "Get a job!"

    37. "Smile and the world smiles with you, cry and you cry alone."

    38. "You don't look depressed!"

    39. "You're so selfish!"

    40. "You never think of anyone but yourself."

    41. "You're just looking for attention."

    42. "Have you got PMS?"

    43. "You'll be a better person because of it!"

    44. "Everybody has a bad day now and then."

    45. "You should buy nicer clothes to wear."

    46. "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."

    47. "Why don't you smile more?"

    48. "A person your age should be having the time of your life."

    49. "The only one you're hurting is yourself."

    50. "You can do anything you want if you just set your mind to it."

    51. "This is a place of business, not a hospital." (after confiding to supervisor about my depression)

    52. "Depression is a symptom of your sin against God."

    53. "You brought it on yourself"

    54. "You can make the choice for depression and its effects, or against depression, it's all in your hands."

    55. "Get off your rear and do something." -or- "Just do it!"

    56. "Why should I care?"

    57. "Snap out of it, will you?"

    58. "You want to feel this way."

    59. "You have no reason to feel this way."

    60. "Its your own fault."

    61. "That which does not kill us makes us stronger."

    62. "You're always worried about *your* problems."

    63. "Your problems aren't that big."

    64. "What are you worried about? You should be fine."

    65. "Just don't think about it."

    66. "Go Away."

    67. "You don't have the ability to do it."

    68. "Just wait a few weeks, it'll be over soon."

    69. "Go out and have some fun!"

    70. "You're making me depressed as well..."

    71. "I just want to help you."

    72. "The world out there is not that bad..."

    73. "Just try a little harder!"

    74. "Believe me, I know how you feel. I was depressed once for several days."

    75. "You need a boy/girl-friend."

    76. "You need a hobby."

    77. "Just pull yourself together"

    78. "You'd feel better if you went to church"

    79. "I think your depression is a way of punishing us." My mother

    80. "Sh_t or get off the pot."

    81. "So, you're depressed. Aren't you always?"

    82. "What you need is some real tragedy in your life to give you perspective."

    83. "You're a writer, aren't you? Just think of all the good material you're getting out of this."

    84. This one is best executed with an evangelical-style handshake, i.e., one of my hands is imprisoned by two belonging to a beefy person who thinks he has a lot more charisma than I do: "Our thoughts and prayers are with you." This has actually happened to me. Bitten-back response: "Who are 'our'? And don't do me any favors, schmuck."

    85. "Have you tried chamomile tea?"

    86. "So, you're depressed. Aren't you always?"

    87. "You will be ok, just hang in there, it will pass." "This too shall pass." --Ann Landers

    88. "Oh, perk up!"

    89. "Try not being so depressed."

    90. "Quit whining. Go out and help people and you won't have time to brood..."

    91. "Go out and get some fresh air... that always makes me feel better."

    92. "You have to take up your bed and carry on."

    93. "Why don't you give up going to these quacks (i.e., doctors) and throw out those pills, then you'll feel better."

    94. "Well, we all have our cross to bear."

    95. "You should join band or chorus or something. That way you won't be thinking about yourself so much."

    96. "You change your mind."

    97. "You're useless."

    98. "Nobody is responsible for your depression."

    99. "You don't like feeling that way? So, change it."

    Compiled by [email protected].
    "To begin, begin." ~William Wordsworth

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Gran Canaria, Spain
    70. "You're making me depressed as well..."
    Sometimes this has to be said. I care more about my mental state then anyone elses.

  3. #3
    Catty1, there is a big difference between being depressed and suffering from depression.

    Many people are depressed about thier lives, their jobs, their family status but these are based on situations where all those sayings might motivate them to change the cause of the depression.

    Suffering from depression is a medical condition that can only be controlled thru medication, councelling and life changes.

    I work with a person who is the product of incest, suffered severe child abuse as a kid, and has many other issues. She suffers from depression yet she leads a full happy productive life thanks to medication and professional councelling which taught her coping methods.

    If you are suffering from depression, don't rely on forums but go see a professional (not a GP) about the situation.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Ploss's Halfway House for Homeless Cats

    People who don't suffer from debilitating depression don't understand that it takes more than just "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps". I WISH it were that easy.

    I suffer from severe depression, ADD, post traumatic stress disorder and am a recovering alcoholic. Most days are good. But then there are the days where I become a recluse. I don't want to talk to anyone, see anyone, be around anyone. People who don't understand it take offense. I try to tell them it is NOT their fault. All my friends know what I'm all about and will give me the time I need and still be there for me when my "bout" is over. I know that I can call and talk anytime. That's what friends are all about.

    Yesterday I was in a real funk. I couldn't figure out why. The day was very gloomy and later on it poured buckets. I took a ride to the cemetery and sat at my parent's grave for 2 hours. Later on when I got home, it dawned on me that the anniversary of my Dad's passing is coming up (I found his body) and my brother is turning 60 on August 13th and I miss him terribly, as he now lives in North Carolina.

    I advise people who have friends with depression and other debilitating diseases to be there for your friends WHEN THEY ASK YOU TO BE. Take the cue from them whether they want to talk, have company or just be left alone.

    Rest In Peace Casey (Bubba Dude) Your paw print will remain on my heart forever. 12/02
    Mollie Rose, you were there for me through good times and in bad, from the beginning.Your passing will leave a hole in my heart.We will be together "One Fine Day". 1994-2009
    MooShoo,you left me too soon.I wasn't ready.Know that you were my soulmate and have left me broken hearted.I loved you like no other. 1999 - 2010See you again "ONE FINE DAY"
    Maya Linn, my heart is broken. The day your beautiful blue eyes went blind was the worst day of my life.I only wish I could've done something.I'll miss your "premium" purr and our little "conversations". 1997-2013 See you again "ONE FINE DAY"


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Illinois, USA
    Quote Originally Posted by moosmom
    People who don't suffer from debilitating depression don't understand that it takes more than just "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps". I WISH it were that easy.
    Me, too! And I wish I had a nickel for every time I have heard this or a variation thereon - like "snap out of it", "just shake it off", "pull yourself together".

    Quote Originally Posted by moosmom
    There are the days where I become a recluse. I don't want to talk to anyone, see anyone, be around anyone.
    Then I get "What's the problem with you" / "Where have you been? We were worried about you" / "Why are you avoiding me/us". Wish I had a nickel for those too!

    [[[[[[[HUGS]]]]]] to Moosmom
    I've been Boo'd ... right off the stage!

    Aaahh, I have been defrosted! Thank you, Bonny and Asiel!
    Brrrr, I've been Frosted! Thank you, Asiel and Pomtzu!

    "That's the power of kittens (and puppies too, of course): They can reduce us to quivering masses of Jell-O in about two seconds flat and make us like it. Good thing they don't have opposable thumbs or they'd surely have taken over the world by now." -- Paul Lukas

    "We consume our tomorrows fretting about our yesterdays." -- Persius, first century Roman poet

    Cassie's Catster page:

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    San Jose, CA
    Quote Originally Posted by jackie View Post
    Sometimes this has to be said. I care more about my mental state then anyone elses.
    There are plenty of ways to look out for yourself without making someone else feel worse.

    Thank you Wolf_Q!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    San Jose, CA
    I lost my health insurance recently and so haven't been able to get a refill on my medication. I'm trying to find a job, but the longer I go without and the longer I search for a job, the harder it gets. My depression isn't usually debilitating, but coupling it with unemployment is certainly driving it to that point.

    Fortunately, my future hubby knows exactly what I need...knows when to back off and when to come and give me support. I'd have given up on the job hunt already without him.

    Thank you Wolf_Q!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Waltham, MA, USA
    A more helpful list would be the BEST - not Worst - things to say. Just a laundry list of what not to say might make one avoid mentioning it at all, not knowing what TO say.
    I've Been Frosted

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Alberta, Canada
    Karen - there is a BEST list, which I posted separately.

    The original had both in one long list, with the best at the bottom!

    I thought the Best would get more attention separately.
    "To begin, begin." ~William Wordsworth

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Florida, USA
    Most of those statements come from people that don't know what depression is like. No one can understand depression unless they've experienced it. Since the depression has complete control, it's pretty hard to expect any person to take those suggestions to heart and use them effectively.

    After having so many health problems this year, I have been really down in the dumps. I don't think it was clinical depression but I don't know. One of the hardest things I have to cope with is seeing people doing normal every day things. While watching them, I knew I wasn't able to even walk on both legs. Who wants to watch people walk and run when they can't stand up?
    During this year, I heard a few of those statements from some people and they cut like a knife.

    I'm a firm believer in, "What goes around comes around". People saying those things could experience it themselves some day.

    Thanks for posting that, Candace. I read the other list as well. I am happy to say that mostly what I heard came from the "Best" list.

    I've been Boo'd...
    Thanks Barry!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Allentown, PA
    91. "Go out and get some fresh air... that always makes me feel better."

    How many times has this one been said to me by my mother. Usually adding to it "You just need to exercise and lose weight. You'll feel much better then."

    So helpful, so understanding. Sigh.

    While fresh air, sun, exercise and losing weight will help, it's not going to "cure" my depression. And bringing it up every week doesn't help either.
    Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History
    -Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

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