Sometimes, wanting to help a patient who suffers from depression will only make matters worse. That is why, it is very important to understand that just because something might help us, does not mean it could help someone else. Therefore, we should approach them with the methods that help them, not with what we think could help us.

“We should consider people who have depression as though they are burning from the inside. We could approach them with water to put that fire down, but little do we know that it is in fact fuel, and it only made matters worse.”

Dr. Rym – Comment se comporter avec un proche dépressif?/ The Slamet Rassek Podcast

Things to NEVER Say to Someone Who Has Depression

  • People have cancer! and problems that cannot be solved, so just thank god!
  • Oh, your situation isn’t that bad, there are people at war, and you have your family and loved ones surrounding you!
  • Look at people who have less than you!
  • You should get out more! There’s no use in locking yourself in a room.
  • Just don’t think about it, if you ignore something it will go away.
  • I know what you’re feeling, I’ve been there — depression isn’t a competition!
  • I thought you were stronger than this!
  • Oh but you don’t look depressed at all!
  • Have a little faith, read the Qura’an or something ! — Religions are for worship, not to cure illnesses.

We must never, ever, undermine someone’s moral pain. It is imperative to take the patient’s mental suffering seriously. Problems are relative! Perhaps if you encounter a certain obstacle that you find easy to get past, another person could have a hard time getting through it. We do not deal with our issues the same way!

What Should You Say and Do Instead?

  • “I know that you are suffering and cannot know what you’re going through, but I want to do my best to help you!”
  • “You don’t have to go through this alone, allow me to stay by your side and help you.”
  • Encourage your friend, or relative to stay on top of their medication.
  • Reassure them that they’re not losing their mind, and that they are not “crazy.”
  • “Your suffering is my priority, and I will do my best to help you and be there for you.”
  • “You’re so strong for speaking up and seeking help. I am here for you”

Sometimes, people who have depression isolate themselves from society, that it is why it is important to be very patient, and understanding of their situation. They often tend to be repetitive and speak of the same things all over again, but you need to understand that it is their way of expressing their feelings.

It’s also helpful to offer our help without belittling their suffering, by offering to accompany them to their appointements, lsiten to them when necessary, and simply be patient while their fight their battle.

What About You?

It is very heartwrenching to have a loved one suffer from depression, and although they might be your priority, you need to look after yourself too. Remember that you are not their savior or their doctor, you are only there for them to support them in their journey towards recovery. Do not let go of your balance, see your friends, keep up your life, because you cannot help someone be better if you are not doing okay yourself.

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