Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What YOU say, vs. What WE Hear

Please don't say, "I know how you feel."
What we hear: That what we're struggling with has a limit...that it can be measured. You're not trying to understand how we feel, you just assume you already know. And since you "just got through it" you expect that we should too. It insinuates that our problem is "no big deal"...not huge for us.

It is completely impossible to fully understand how a person with depression feels. Everyone has bouts of feeling depressed...that is, feeling sad...and there's a huge difference in that from actually HAVING depression. Feeling sad is VERY a wide spectrum. So is feeling happy.


Please don't say, "Just replace those negative thoughts with positive ones."
What we hear: That it's our fault we are so depressed. This is something we could just snap out of if we just try hard enough. Right?

Believe me, I think I speak for a lot of people when I say, I WISH IT COULD BE THAT SIMPLE!


Please don't say, "You have nothing to be depressed about!"
What we hear: The fact that we are depressed is pathetic. Nothing in our lives could possibly be that bad.

Because really, it could very well be nothing at all! It could very well be everything! Sometimes depression is definitely circumstantial, but more often than not, there is a chemical imbalance that we have no control over. That's where the "NOTHING" comes from.


Please don't say, "At least you're not____" or "You are much better off than so many other people."
What we hear: That we are not grateful enough for what we have, and that in comparison to certain other situations, our depression is minor.

This is a reminder we don't need. We are not homeless. We are not dying of a terminal illness. We are not starving in some far off impoverished country. Umm...YES! We know this! Of course we know this! So before I resort to the very called for, "DUH!" let me be very clear...Never would I EVER, in a million lifetimes, minimize any. single. thing that someone else is going through. Nothing! Ever! Because nothing should ever, ever, ever be minimized! I just ask that you do the same for me.


Please don't say, "You shouldn't have to take that medication to feel better."
What we hear: That you think you're smarter than the doctors who prescribed this medication to us. That you don't actually see this disorder as a "real problem" and we don't actually need to do anything to treat the CHEMICAL PROBLEM in our BRAIN.

This is probably the AB-SO-LUTE WORST thing you could possibly say to a person! Leave it to the doctors...the professionals! PLEASE! Saying these words could really put someone else's life in danger!

“Depression has many possible causes, including faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, medications, and medical problems. Many chemicals are involved, working both inside and outside nerve cells. There are millions, even billions, of chemical reactions that make up the dynamic  system that is responsible for your mood, perceptions, and how you experience life.” {SOURCE}


Please don't say, "You can CHOOSE to be happy."
What we hear: Obviously we don't WANT to be happy. We are choosing to stay in this suffering state, and not trying hard enough to get out of it.

{I cannot convey to you enough how much I HATE this phrase!!! No I mean it...it truly makes my blood boil!}

But really, though?? I mean...REEEEAAAALLLLYYY???!!!!
Thankfully no one has said this to me for a very long time...and, honestly, if anyone ever does again, believe me when I say that you'll be seeing a side of me you won't expect.
But I've heard this said to other people who are suffering. For the sake of the sufferer, I've been holding my tongue. But I'm not going to do that anymore. From now on, anyone who says this is going to get a mouth-full from me. Friends, if you hear this from someone, you need to immediately remove that person from your life. They are TOXIC!!!


So....instead of saying all of these things...here are some things you could say instead...


"I believe you are suffering. You are seen and heard."
"I know I will never be able to fully understand this part of you, but I want to try."
"Can I do anything to help you?" {typically the answer to this one is, nothing, but it is still nice to hear from someone}
Say absolutely nothing. Just be with the person. Give them a shoulder to cry on. Hug them.


And if you don't agree with anything at all that I've said here, that's okay. That's your choice. So if you take nothing else away from this, at least understand this part...
Just walk away. You don't need to say anything. You don't need to "pretend" that you care. If you don't truly believe in a person's suffering, that person doesn't need you in their life. Leave.

Harsh? Maybe. I'm typically not harsh. But this stuff NEEDED to be said.

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