Don’t Say That to Me!

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I found this comic on pinterest and it addresses the issue about ‘If physical diseases were treated like mental illnesses.’ I think it is a really great perspective!

When I am depressed, there are some things I really do not want to hear!  People just do not understand depression and mental illness.  It is so easy for them to think that we can just “snap out of it.” With that, that is one thing you better not say to me – “Snap out of it!”

 

Some other things that you shouldn’t say to someone who is depressed –

 

* No one ever said life was fair.

* Think of all the good things in your life, a lot of people have it much worse.

* If you don’t like feeling that way, just change it.

* You have no reason to feel like that.

* Just try a little harder.

* Just get a hobby.

* Pull yourself together.

* Mind over matter.

* You don’t need meds, just take vitamins or try natural stuff.

* You will be ok, just hang in there, things will get better, I promise.

* Everyone gets depressed, it’s normal.

* Pull yourself up by your bootstraps!

* Suck it up.

 * You need to be strong for ….(your mom, kids, sister, etc)

* Stop feeling sorry for yourself.

* So you’re depressed? What’s new?

* Try not to be so depressed.

* I know how you feel, I was depressed when blablabla (unless the person has truly experienced a diagnosis of depression/mental illness and really understands what depression is like)

* If you keep acting like this no one will be your friend.

 

Not all of these have been said to me, but a lot have.  Some by my family, some by friends.  Others I have heard in the psych hospital during visiting hours when friends or family were visiting their loved ones. 

Hearing these can tear us apart.  It makes us feel like we have no support from those around us.  It makes us feel incredibly alone.  So for those of you who want to talk to someone who is depressed – think about what you are saying.  Think about what your words really mean.  How they come across.  How the person will perceive them.  Even if you mean them with the best of intentions, they might not be perceived that way.  I know people try to say that, “Well I was just pointing out that others have it worse so they could see that they really do have a good life.” But for me, that just makes me feel awful.  I know I have a good life compared to someone who is starving and dying.  But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have the right to feel my feelings.  And by saying that, it completely invalidates my feelings, and then adds on a whole new feeling of guilt and causes me to clam up and put on a mask and not want to express myself at all except in a possibly more destructive way such as self harm. 

So think about what you say to someone who is depressed.  Even if I wanted to, I can’t snap out of it. 

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2 thoughts on “Don’t Say That to Me!”

  1. The thing is, even physical illnesses often aren’t treated very well either, especially if they’re chronic. I’m young and don’t look sick, so I get the same assumptions and comments–“You just need to get out of bed and do something,” “I don’t see anything wrong with you,” “If you ate a better diet…” and on and on and on. I have a great specialist who treats my illness, but any time I have to go to the ER, it’s a disaster. They treat me like a drug-seeking hypochondriac even though I have undeniable proof of my illness.

    I think the problem in the way many people deal with people with chronic physical or mental illness is lack of empathy. We’re scary to them because they don’t want to consider that they might experience what we do, so they distance themselves from us emotionally. That leads to the ignorant and hurtful comments.

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  2. Thanks for the comment! I definitely agree with you. I had a physical issue related to chronic pain that the doctors felt I was just a hypochondriac about. I did my own research and found out what it was, found a doctor that finally listened to me but they weren’t in my insurance so I had to pay out of pocket for them and the x-rays etc. Took all their notes and tests back to my PCP where that doc finally apologized to me. It led to me having to have surgery to fix it. But it took 2 years. Chronic illness are treated like mental health ones – especially in younger people as they are “supposed” to be healthy. Good point!

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