Things Not to Say to Someone with Mental Illness

Things Not to Say to Someone with Mental Illness

November 26 2022 TalktoAngel 0 comments 137 Views

When someone you care about is depressed, you may offer suggestions, advice, or wisdom with the best of intentions. However, the words you use may not convey the intended message, especially if you are unfamiliar with the nature of depression and mental illness.

It is critical to remember that depression is a medical condition that must be treated, whether through medication, therapy or counseling, or both. When talking to a loved one about their depression, using platitudes can make them feel as if you're dismissing their feelings.

When expressing your own emotions, the phrases you use may appear clear and to the point from your perspective, but the person experiencing depression on the receiving end may feel attacked, misunderstood, or deeply hurt.

 

Things not to say to someone with depression or other mental illness

It's important to talk about mental health with the people you care about, but if you don't do so with tact and compassion, your efforts to help may end up doing more harm than good. When speaking to someone who is depressed, avoid the following behaviors and comments.

1. Tell them not to try harder.

Avoid saying things like:

  • "Get out of it!"
  • "Just give it your all!"

Having someone tell you to try harder when you're already giving it your all can be demoralizing and make a depressed person believe their situation is hopeless.

Depression develops for a variety of reasons, and a person cannot always control all of the risk factors. When someone becomes depressed, it's not as simple as "talking themselves out of it."

Depression, like diabetes or hypothyroidism, can occur when the body does not produce enough of the substances required for proper function. A diabetic cannot force their body to produce more insulin.

People suffering from depression, like those suffering from diabetes, require medical intervention and support from a best Online Psychiatrist. For some, this may simply take medications to address chemical imbalances that may be contributing to the condition. If you are searching for the “Best Psychologist near me” for your mental illness connect with TalktoAngel India's No. 1  Online Counselling platform.

2. Don't Underestimate

Your well-intended advice to "cheer up" or "smile" may feel friendly and supportive to you, but it oversimplifies the sadness associated with depression.

Just as a depressed person cannot force their brain to produce more serotonin, a happy person cannot simply "decide" to be happy. While practicing positive thinking has many advantages, it is insufficient to cure depression.

3. Don't Show Your Disbelief

"People who need help often look like people who don't need help," said Glennon Doyle, an American author. To put it another way, how a person appears on the outside does not always reflect how they feel on the inside. This is true for many mental illnesses, as well as chronic illnesses and conditions that are sometimes regarded as invisible. As a result, avoid saying things like:

  • "But you don't appear to be depressed!"
  • "You don't appear to be sad!"
  • "I haven't changed my behavior."

People suffering from depression and anxiety frequently try very hard to "put on a good face" and hide how they truly feel from others. These thoughts can become very intense and, in fact, are typical of depression itself—despite the fact that they do not reflect reality.

People may try to hide their emotions for a variety of reasons, including:

  • They may be embarrassed, perplexed, guilty, ashamed, or afraid of what would happen if others discovered they were depressed.
  • They may be concerned that they will be perceived as inept at work or as a parent.
  • They might be concerned that their spouse, family, and friends will abandon them.

Just because someone with depression tries to hide it doesn't mean they want to be dismissed when they do choose to open up about how they truly feel. It takes bravery to speak openly about their pain. If someone responds with doubt or disbelief, they may feel unsafe discussing their depression.

4. Don't Ignore Their Anguish

When talking to a friend who is depressed or going through a difficult time, avoid comparing pain. Keep in mind that pain (both emotional and physical) is not only subjective but also relative.

Comments such as:

  • "It can't possibly be that bad."
  • "Things could be worse."
  • "You think you've got it bad..."

People suffering from depression also lack the internal resources required to deal with stress in an effective and healthy manner. To you, a minor annoyance or inconvenience may appear to be an insurmountable barrier to your loved one suffering from depression. 

People frequently express concern if they do not see a clear "reason" for their depression, and not knowing why they are depressed can exacerbate the situation. What someone's life appears to be on the outside does not always reflect or alter how they feel on the inside.

Depression does not require an explanation. The experience is highly personal, and even if you care about someone and want to help, remember that you will never truly understand how they feel.

Avoid drawing parallels or staging a "competition" to see who feels the worst. This isn't helpful and may give the impression that you're dismissing their experience or aren't paying attention to what they're saying.

5. Don't Hold a Grudge.

While a lack of mood-regulating substances does occur in the mind, the phrase "all in your head" can be dismissive. People who hear the phrase may feel attacked as if they are accused of "making it up" or lying about their feelings. As a result, avoid saying things like:

  • "Everything is in your head."
  • "It's entirely your fault."
  • "You're hallucinating."

Furthermore, depression is frequently manifested not only in the mind but also in the body. Many physical symptoms of depression, such as chronic pain, are very real. Depression is a medical condition that will not improve unless treated.

6. Don’t be Apathetic

When someone is depressed, they may feel guilty and ashamed. They may feel like a burden to the people in their lives, which can exacerbate depression and even lead to suicidal thoughts or self-harming behaviors.

It is not helpful to minimize another person's pain. It can be extremely hurtful and harmful to people suffering from depression.

When you're caring for (and concerned about) someone who is depressed, you may say hurtful things out of frustration or worry. If you find yourself thinking "who cares?" while listening to a loved one, this could be a sign of burnout. You must first take care of your own emotional and mental health before you can help others. If you are frustrated, irritated, or helpless, check in with yourself and ensure that you have the necessary support.

7. Don't be ashamed.

Someone who is depressed may appear to be preoccupied with their own life (or, more specifically, their own thoughts) at times, but this does not imply that they are selfish. Avoid making comments that shame them for their emotions, such as:

  • "You are only concerned with yourself."
  • "Others have problems, too."
  • "You spend too much time thinking about yourself."

Insinuating that a depressed person doesn't care about other people provides no comfort and only adds to feelings of blame, shame, and guilt. People suffering from depression still care about others.

8. Don’t ignore them 

Even if you have experienced clinical depression, your experience may differ from that of others. If you've never experienced depression, it may be difficult to empathize. If someone you care about is depressed, the best thing you can do is to be open and willing to learn.

Rather than abandoning a conversation by saying, "I just don't understand," or pretending to understand when you don't, begin by assuring your loved one that you care about them.

9. Avoid using platitudes.

While this may be true, a depressed person may lack the perspective required to entertain, let alone believe, the idea. Platitudes, clichés, and ambiguous statements don't provide much hope for someone. As a result, avoid saying things like:

  • "It will all pass."
  • "Just let it go."
  • "You'll grow out of it."

A depressed person may have difficulty envisioning the future because they are overwhelmed by the present. It's also difficult to "let go" or "escape from" the past, especially if you've suffered loss or trauma.

10. “It’s all in Your Head or Mind”

Psychological illness often is due to very complex issues, it could be due to biochemical changes in the head or brain, or due to some triggers in the social ecosystem, this comment or statement often makes a person think in a weird manner and react with more triggers and show behavior which becomes difficult to handle. This attitude often trivializes the issue and makes other people feel stigmatized.

You may feel like you're offering hope by saying that things will get better eventually, but a depressed person may be frustrated wondering how long they will have to wait. Seek assistance from an Online Counsellor through Online counselling at TalktoAngel and take help from the Best Psychologist in India.

 



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