Dealing with Depression in Others

It’s often difficult to know what to say to someone struggling with major depression. And if you’ve battled with it yourself, you are probably aware of the accidental insensitivity that can often be seen in others that love you and are trying to help. In her Huffington Post article, 6 Things Not to Say to Someone with Depression, Lindsay Holmes interviewed Dr. Adam Kaplan, an associate professor in the department of psychiatry and neurology at Johns Hopkins University, to garner some advice for those close to a person struggling with depression. Said Kaplin in his interview:

No Me Mireis!

No Me Mireis! (Photo credit: El Hermano Pila)

“It’s best not to say anything that is going to make them think that what they’re dealing with is because of a lack of coping skills, personal weakness or a character flaw. The worst part of depression is that it narrows the field of vision into a very small tube so they can’t see the options. A lot of it is giving people a hope that things will get better.”

Kaplan said that, while every case is different, there are some general principles to follow, and lists the following six things that should, in most cases, not be said.

  1. “I know how you feel.”
  2.  “Suck it up.”
  3. “Cheer up.”
  4. “You have to be strong for your kids.”
  5. “It’s all in your head.”
  6. “Just think–there are others who have it worse than you do.”

Each of these statements, and the reason it should be avoided, is discussed in Holmes’s article, which you can read by CLICKING HERE. Also, in the article, Kaplan suggests that instead of offering perspective, just saying nothing or hanging out with someone for a little while may be a good idea.

“A lot of times it’s just recognizing that you can’t always take someone’s pain away, so it’s just a matter of being comforting. There are certain messages that you do want to put forward. Just knowing that you’re not alone is half battle when it comes to depression, so just being there and connecting will help.”

Possibly as interesting as the article are the comments posted to the article showing reactions that agree and disagree, perhaps proving the point that every case is different.

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One thought on “Dealing with Depression in Others

  1. Thanks for the link to our article on some positive aspects of depression at Crazy Good Parent. We’ve worked with NAMI DuPage here in Illinois and are big supporters of the work NAMI does.

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