College students are under a lot of pressure. Sometimes this can lead to depression, but sometimes, it's there from the start. To better help your friends, and maybe even yourself, here are some things to not say to someone who is going through depression.
1. "Have you tried yoga?"
While yoga may be beneficial for some people, it is not some secret miracle cure for people with depression. The same goes with exercise. A person can have an incredibly toned body and still have a mentally ill mind.
2. "You don't have a reason to be sad!"
If they have depression, they probably are aware of the fact that they aren't sad for a specific reason. Depression can be caused by a certain event, but that isn't always the case. Many times it is simply caused by a chemical imbalance within their brain, and guess what? That chemical imbalance is the reason for their sadness. So technically they do have a reason for being sad.
3. "At least you don't have a physical illness."
Physical illnesses are horrible to deal with in their own way, but people shouldn't pit the two types of illnesses against each other. Depression is just as hard to cure as many physical illnesses and just like any physical illness — it hinders that person's ability to live their life the way they want to.
4. "Other people have it worse!"
They understand that other people have it worse, but when other people bring this fact up it just makes them feel guilty. Also, usually when people bring up the fact that other people have it worse, they don't actually care about those other people, they just want the depressed person to stop "whining" and "bringing them down."
5. "I know how you feel."
This is just a no. Unless you have or have ever had depression, you will never understand what it is like. Also, being depressed for a period of time is not the same as having depression. Having your mind — one of your literal organs — work against you all the time is a constant struggle that neuro-typical people will never understand.
6. "You just need *insert religion here.*"
Same deal as yoga. Religion isn't some magical cure to depression. Many religious people actually do struggle with depression and suggesting that religion is the only way to cure it is very invalidating to their struggle. On the other hand, there are plenty of people with depression who have no interest in religion, and you should not use their emotional vulnerability to make them follow your religion.
7. "Medication isn't a real anti-depressant."
The people who say this only do because their mind naturally makes the proper chemicals for their emotions to be in balance. Medication doesn't "numb your emotions," "kill your creativity," or "give you a lifetime addiction." It simply tries to help the people who use it produce different chemicals that they couldn't on their own. There is no reason to shame people who need help producing something just because your mind can naturally make it.
8. "It's all in your head."
Of course it's all in their head! That's why it's called a mental illness. The brain, just like any other organ, can have trouble functioning properly. They're not making it up or blowing things out of proportion, there is actually something causing them to have depression.
9. "Happiness is a choice!"
This is another thing neuro-typical people tell to depressed people to try to guilt them into feeling better. Well that only half works. It does make them feel guilty, but it certainly doesn't make them feel any better. If the above statement was the case, then everybody would choose to be happy and depression wouldn't exist.
10. "You're just not trying hard enough."
This statement is on here not because it's annoying, but rather because it really hurts. You have no right to tell a depressed person they are not trying because you have no idea what they are going through. People with depression have to try so much harder than neuro-typical people to be happy and it often times gets them nowhere. To tell them that they are not trying invalidates how much effort they put into trying to feel better. Instead of hurting them more, you should try to actually be there for them.
Depression is a real illness which affects many people worldwide. If you have never experienced it, I hope you never have to. I also hope that you think before you say any of these things to someone who does have it.
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