There are many things that people say to me when I am in the depths of depression that not only don’t help, but sometimes make things worse. Here are a few:
Watch a funny movie, go out and have some fun, do something nice for yourself.
Think positive thoughts. Be more positive. Don’t be so negative.
Grin and bear it. Just smile more.
It’s all in your head.
Are you taking your medications?
Just snap out of it. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps. You just need a good kick in the butt.
This too shall pass.
Try losing some weight. (Not only does this make it worse but it also has the potential to make a person violent) I am not an imbecile and this is not a new concept for me. I have been trying to lose weight my whole life.
The worst by far is when people say things like “You have so much to be grateful for,” or “When you get depressed just think of all of those who are less fortunate than you.” This seems like a logical solution but the problem for me is that then leads to overwhelming feelings of guilt. Plus, just because I am depressed doesn’t mean I am ungrateful for what I have. I have written before about the Gratitude Perspective and I am a firm believer in it, but when I am in the depths of depression, guilt and feelings of worthlessness begin to boil and come to the surface when I look around me and take note of all of the things I have to be grateful for. Why was I lucky enough to be born in an amazing country where I have access to education, medical care, food, and clean running water when so many other people were born in the worst conditions known to humanity? Why was I lucky enough to end up with an amazingly supportive husband when there are women who are abused or ignored by their husbands? I am no better than those who are less fortunate than me. I am no more deserving of what I have than those who have less than what I do.
Now, for those of you reading my blog who might be feeling bad because you have said these things to me in the past I completely understand that you said these things out of love and a genuine intent to help, so don’t feel bad or guilty. I realize in some ways I am “preaching to the choir” but it helps to vent my frustration even if the message is not reaching the audience who most needs to hear it. Just think of this as a public service announcement of sorts. I am also interested to see what some other folks who deal with depression find unhelpful and frustrating.
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