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10 things not to say to a depressed person (and please don’t ever say to me either)

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I cringed at these things my friends said to me these few years. For those of you who don’t really get us, I’ve decided to let you know  10 things not to say to a depressed person from my own experience.And be forewarned, for if you ever dare to even start uttering the below to me, I will hang you by your legs upside down, skin you alive and then deep fry you before publicly disowning you and denying your pitiful existence.

I had never thought people would write to me for advice and suggestions. A few weeks back, a friend wrote to me and said she just found out that a family member of a friend has depression. But her friend did not know what to say or how to encourage the depression sufferer. She asked me if I had any recommendations. It got me thinking.

However, as I’m not a doctor, I can’t give medical advice. Moreover, what to say is very dependent on the personality and situation of the oppressed. But what I can offer is my take on what NOT to say to someone in depression. Hopefully this can help you empathize where we weirdos are coming from, and for you to be more sensitive to our plight.

And on that note, may I solemnly remind you again: please don’t ever ever EVER again say the below in bold type to me in whatever circumstances if you consider me a friend. Otherwise I’m throwing a tantrum in your face.

Do NOT say:- (Oh wow, I’m writing a list!!!)

1. “Remain Positive”

I think: Duh! I know – but how? To me, my reality is that the world has alreadycaved in. What is irrational to you makes utmost sense to me. I’m so angry / upset / sad / lonely / devastated / hopeless / in despair… Why can’t you understand me?

I feel: Recoil further into my shell to avoid future contact and meaningless advice because you never told me how to remain positive.

 

2. “Don’t think like that”

I think: Why not? What’s wrong with thinking like I do? It’s an honest opinion. I really think this. It’s negative all right, but that’s what I think, so what’s wrong? So how should I think instead? Like you? But I don’t agree with you, and then I become you if I think like you…? 

I feel: I did something wrong for thinking a certain way, and you reprimanded me for thinking so. Thus, I withdraw, and berate myself for thinking the way I do, and spiral further down into depression due to self-criticism. 


3. “Pull yourself together” / “Snap out of it” and the likes

I think: How? Snap out of what? I don’t want to be like this either, you think it’s fun?

I feel: Feel completely useless and hopeless that I’m incapable of holding myself together and getting better. Depression snowballs with this sense of incompetence.

 

4. “Why do you need to be depressed?”

I think: Umm… I don’t know, I wish I knew. Doctors said it’s because of some imbalance in serotonin in me. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. I DON’T KNOW!!!!!!!

I feel: Accused of committing a heinous crime to be depressed. Confused because I don’t know what happened to make me depressed and how it all happened. Lost since I don’t know how to get out of depression. Feel inferior and worse about myself, so I hide from you as well because I don’t want to feel inadequate. 

 

 

5. “Look at how lucky you are already! Be thankful”

I think: I am thankful for what I have. But what does that have to do with depression? Doctors and every website I’ve read say depression is an illness and has biological factors. Depression needs to be treated as any other sickness. You are lucky too, be thankful – stop having a freaking cold and sneezing germs into the air I breathe!

I feel: Misunderstood as a spoilt, ungrateful little girl when I’m not. Frustrated for being misunderstood, cry, wail, sad. Retreat into my hiding place – again.

 

6.  Go do something and you will feel better.”

I think: Go do what? I can’t be bothered. I’m tired. I’m not interested. I have no energy. I just want to sleep. Doing something won’t make me feel better. Leave me alone.

I feel: Tired and lethargic, and no energy to think about what to do. Harassed because you keep telling me to do something.

(N.B. What did work, was instead of telling me to do something, my fiancé simply made me put my clothes on, slid me into my boots, and dragged me out of the house for a walk, talking about random things on the way, not once mentioning anything to do how I was doing or asking if I felt better.)

 

7.  “What’s wrong with you?”

I think: I WISH I KNEW. I wish I knew. Oh how I wish I knew. Can you tell me? Can somebody tell me? I don’t want to be like this. Why am I like this?

I feel: Absolutely hopeless because I don’t know why I became like this, and I was unable to find out the reasons behind my depression. Very belittled and angry at myself. Can’t deal with this. I might as well die.

 

8. “You should do this…” or “You should not do this (such as kill yourself)…”

I think: Why? This is my life, I’m allowed to end it if I want. Why should I eat? I’m not hungry.

I feel: Patronized by your condescending tone (even if you didn’t have one). Rejected for not doing what you think I am supposed to. Another bash to my already dwindling self-confidence – you just succeeded in making me feel more desperate and more depressed.

 

9.  “See how others suffer even worst, and have no food to eat, be grateful for what you have”

I think: But you told me not to compare myself with others when I told you I was envious of others who have achieved more than me. So how double faced is it that just because others are less fortunate I can compare with them? I know you are trying to tell me I should count my blessings – I do, trust me I do. But how does this solve my depression? I still feel that life is not worth living despite being grateful for what I have. I am too tired to carry on and try.

I feel: Baffled as to why sometimes you say don’t compare and other times you tell me to do so. I don’t understand how being thankful makes me feel better, because what I have now has no meaning and no value to me. I JUST WANT TO DIE. Maybe if I die, there’d be more food for those who don’t have any. Proceed to jumping out the window from 30th floor.

 

10.  “It’s all in your head…”

I think: IT’S NOT! But I know. How do I change my head? It’s not my fault. I didn’t want this. I can’t control it. I’m trying but I can’t!

I feel: Furious at myself for not being able to control my head and thinking. Inept at everything I’m trying to do and worse, for disappointing you. Alone that no one can understand me. Alienate myself. Doomed to fail; might as well die…

 

You might consider our reactions and emotions to what you say extremely unreasonable. I will not argue about it. Nevertheless, bear in mind that someone affected by depression does have a lot of “irrational” thoughts by standard of the norm. Yet, it is our reality and we completely believe it, irrational or not. So don’t try to debate or convince us otherwise. You will only push us further down our bleak track.

My contention is that, the wrong thing said, can unknowingly push a depressed friend over the edge. Not to be fatalistic, but 60% of suicides in the world is associated depression – go ask the World Health Organization if you don’t believe me.

Please, give us a break. If we all had a choice, I don’t think any of us would want to linger in a state of depression.

If you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything. Just sit with us, let us cry, kick your shoes or whatever. That’s maybe all we need for now. Leave the lecturing to a medical expert such as a psychologist who can do it skillfully.

I compiled this from experience and based on my own reactions; I winced every time someone said the above to me in the last three years. Just for reference.

If you have anything else to add to the list of things to not say to a depressed person, feel free to in comments below. And if you liked this blurb please share with your friends and help my blog grow. Thanks :)

                               

774 Responses

  1. Ricardo Mustachio says:

    that’s “weakly” and “thou” not weekly and though. (among other errors)

    I really do try, but the idiocy shines through like the illumination of a flashlight covered by a sinewy hand.

    Im not as flippant as I post, really. I’m tired and i post drunk.

    • Ricardo Mustachio.... Whatever says:

      I was posting about something I had said, not calling anyone and idiot, ‘cept me.

    • Sadie says:

      “Go and do something you enjoy”.. I’m so sick of hearing that. I’ve already done all that and now I’m tired. Let someone else take my place for a change. I’ve always been the one to cheer everyone up and give the REAL helpful advice.Then, these same people expect you to be there to cheer them on but they (excluding one friend) were never there for me when life was barely survivable and I had major problems. Try living on a shoestring budget for years and then tell me how you feel. People are clueless. “Going out” most likely involves spending money and you’re still not happy, even if you had it to spend. Clueless and…let’s gossip about her life and her depression because we’re clueless…and superior, no less.

    • Wendy says:

      I want thank the person who wrote this. It is everything I try to say to others but have to yet put together cohesively.

      @Ricardo Mustachio, before you correct someone else, you may want to consider correcting your own posts first.

      BTW, I have found the site Inspire.com to be a great supportive tool for me.

    • newzbug says:

      @Ricardo Mustachio –
      You are incorrect about “though”. The word “thou” is an archaic form of “you”. The word “though” means ‘despite the fact; although”

      You neglected you own spell check, it is “I” not “i”.

      A good writer of any kind does not use spell check. Spell check is only used for some words.

  2. Arne says:

    This was a very illuminating post, and i thank you for sharing a inside view to us on the “outside”.

    I have a friend suffering from depression, and unfortunately she’s not even able to take medication to help her. (long story)
    As such i try my best to socialize her as much as i can with my other friends, give her as much positive input i can to hopefully weigh out the negative spikes.

    However i have a bit of a twin view of people with depression, i see them as two types. My friend used to be one but she managed to change to the other.

    1 Is the type that actively try to fight it to the best of their ability, relying on others for support once in a while, and know when to make preemtive actions when they feel a negative surge coming.
    To these people i have the outmost respect for, i tip my hat to them for cooping with such a difficult “invisible” desease.

    Then theres the other….the type that feeds their depression, uses the people around them as crutches, burying themselves lower and lower into a hole, who litheraly does nothing to prevent or fight against it.

    I concider myself a compassionate person, but these people….to be honest they irk me.

    Sure i can never fully comprehend the severity of this decease, but in the end, the only one who can do something about it is YOU.
    You need to take the first step. Be it reaching out a hand, asking for help properly, or just making some prememtive effort to stagger the negativity.

    Now i don’t mean to be condecending or rude or anything, and of course there are grey sones between these two types.

    Call me selfish, but i require som kind of sign that your worth all the hassle, that your worth my time, strenght and patience.
    You give me that, and you could be the most mentaly fked person in the world, i wouldn’t care.

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Arne

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I respect that. I tend to agree there are some who victimize themselves and prey for attention. I also agree that with the aid of medication or any other treatments, at the end of the day we have to take the responsibility to make ourselves better. I do draw a line between those who are clinically depressed versus those who use depression as an excuse to seek attention – those people might have other issues at bay that need dealing with. Also, “feeling depressed” once in a while is also different from those who are clinically depressed, who exhibit a certain number of symptoms for at least 2 consecutive weeks. Those who are clinically depressed find it harder to help themselves, even though they want to – and such is the irony.

      Depression is such an intricate matter that sometimes I still can’t wrap my head around it, and it’s so hard to pin point. I just hope that most people will be able to accept and realize they are struggling with a challenge, and find some power within themselves to feel better. And I hope this blog gives these people some inspiration.

      NN

    • Annie says:

      Why do you think those people are ‘the second type’? Or in other words, ‘the way they are’?
      It comes after years of hopelessness, grief, and many other factors. There is no one in the world who is naturally the ‘second type’. All people who have depression try to get out of it somehow, no matter how big or small. Even if it means they have to search Google for it. By that I mean they look up how other people who have their same problems coped with it because they have a glimmer of hope that they can get out of the hole they’re in.
      It’s when they’re trying their hardest and no one is supporting them that they fall into the second ‘category’. Trust me, if your Dad dies when you’re young and your Mom is trying to support all her children and spend time with them and cheer them up and not cry herself in front of them so as not to bring them down, you feel some pressure. And when you become immensely sad, and have no one to talk to (no, you can’t tell Mom, because you know she’s going through a lot already,) and your friends are a bunch of filthy lying jerks and are not to be trusted and if you go to the guidance counselor you are automatically a ‘mentally disturbed person’ and is recorded in your high school transcript when you’re trying to keep a clean and awesome transcript to get into medical school and become the doctor you’ve always dreamed of, and you’re fighting all these emotions and working hard and trying to be happy yourself, and no one is supporting you, like I said, it’s hard not to fall into the second category. You start feeling alone, lonely, you could say; no one seems to care, you’re just another face in the crowd; come on, we’re all human, sometimes we need support from other people if we’re not getting it from our family. And you’re fighting all alone. You become desperate and just can’t stop crying. You start giving up. You pick yourself up each time, but you fall in again. You start to wonder, what’s the use of picking myself up if I’m going to fall again? I might as well stay down. No one seems to care about an insignificant kid like me. Then comes the negative self-talk. Then you start feeling worse and worse, and some nights you feel you just can’t take it anymore, and you feel like you’re not living at all, oh no, just merely existing; going through the motions of daily life because you’re forced to. You’re just a kid; you can’t stay at home and rest and recover, you’re forced to go to a bunch of nitwits that only care about talking about drugs and religion and sex. You are forced to go to these lunatics everyday, and you feel like you’re in a mental hospital. You can’t tell anyone, and it builds up inside you. You get panic attacks. Your heart feels like it’s going to explode. You just don’t know what to do anymore.
      After 2-4 months of this, or even longer for some people, you start to realize that no one is going to pick you up and get you on your feet. If you want anything done, you’re going to have to get it yourself. You’re going to have to get that 4.000 GPA by yourself, get that scholarship by yourself, get into that prestigious college by yourself, pass they MCAT by yourself, get into medical school by yourself, and become that research-scientist-pathologist-doctor who finds cures and studies diseases intensively all the while doing simple medical tasks for people, like setting arms and making casts for people.
      You’re going to have to buy that house by yourself, get that 2009 Jeep Wrangler by yourself, live and enjoy life doing the thing you love by yourself (unless you get married, of course). You’re going to have to free yourself of those nitwits by doing your best and persevering because nothing lasts forever. After you get your medical license, you are free to live your life the way you want it to, be independent, and get paid doing something you love. This realization comes later. Usually near the end of the depression. And you start planning, and saying you shouldn’t be getting B’s and C’s when you know you’re an A student. And slowly, but surely, you pick yourself, shake off the dust, and get to where you are today because of YOU, not anyone else. Yes, I agree with you, Arne, that the only one who could turn things around in your life is yourself, which is when you start loving yourself and get those little voices out of your head.
      What I don’t agree is when you say ‘you have to show me you’re worth it’. Isn’t it enough that all this bad stuff is happening to me when I don’t deserve it, and all the while I’ve been fighting (and you haven’t been there for me) I’ve fallen into an utter state of despair, and you aren’t, as a human being, and out of kindness, not willing to help me because my negative self-talk makes you think I’m not worth it?
      There is NO human being who wants to be depressed and not have a life. There is NO human being that doesn’t want to be happy. Therefore, there is no human being who hasn’t fought, and therefore no human being who isn’t ‘worth it’. Remember that there is someone out there who cares about this person very much (ie. parents, grandparents), and they aren’t around at the moment to help this person. Remember that because there is someone who cares, this person matters. This person IS worth the hassle.
      As is every human being.
      And even if, despite all of these things, you don’t see that they matter, I will give you this:
      Every human being deserves a second chance. Which is why they are worth it.
      I don’t blame you because you can never understand unless you have been in a depressed person’s shoes. Because really, that is what it boils down to: you can never understand how hard things are for these people unless you go through and live with what they go through each day and live with what they live with everyday. And when you do this, you realize they are incredible people standing up to a ‘invisible’ disease whose cure doctors think can only come by messing up a person’s mental health by giving them pills, pills, and more pills. Which can sometimes work the ‘opposite’ way.
      I’m not saying that a person who has something missing from their brain shouldn’t get medication; but think, this person has been a happy, cheerful, healthy, outgoing person until this tragic thing happened. Is there suddenly some ‘shortage’ of a chemical their brain releases? I say they’re sad, and I believe (my own opinion) that you can get yourself out of this the same way you got yourself in. You didn’t take any drugs to become depressed, did you? No. Well, if you really wanted to, you can get yourself out without having to take any drugs or be classified as one of ‘them’, which is extremely hurtful, trust me.
      And yes, I know, because I have had depression before.
      Please don’t say things you don’t know or are not really sure of about depressed people, because it really hurts me since you have never experienced it before and are making all these snap judgments, which leads to stereotyping.

    • Imi says:

      Arne, you’ve obviously never suffered from clinical depression. You wouldn’t be saying such judgemental and insensitive things if you had the slightest idea of what it feels like. The more severe the depression, the more difficult it is to seek help. You talked about the first type of depressed persons who “actively try to fight it”. “Active” and “depression”…I find that almost funny. I think that would apply mostly to people with mild depression, but from experience, when you’re in the severe depression phase, just getting out of bed, getting dressed or eating, drains you from the little energy you have.

      I’d say that people shouldn’t be so judgemental about things they haven’t experienced first hand.

    • Darc says:

      Hi, i think what you said was really good because i am the type 1depression and when i told my friends they didn’t believe me at first, most of the time i hide my depression with a smile. Most times i fight through it so at least i don’t need a fake smile. Most people don”t believe me as they think you can not fight depression, but it is possible. Iv’e tried to fight it for years but it was only this year, with support from my friends that my case is not as severe, and i can control it better now. It’s amazing how you can find your true friends just by them supporting you through a tough time.

    • zhiv says:

      For some of us, we get so low that we can’t give you a sign. When my depression was at it’s most severe, I couldn’t even move. Depression is such a horrible illness, the ‘type 2 person’ you describe actually describes all of us sufferers at some point. The way depression affects us is to put us on a treadmill of negative thinking that some of us can never step off, such is the stranglehold the illness has on us. If you want to support your friend, do it unconditionally, and dont ask her or expect her to validate you or herself. If you don’t feel you can support your friend anymore, then it’s ok to step away. But please dont think her inability to show you gratitude or overcome her negative thinking means she or the people you think of as ‘feeding their depression’ aren’t fighting for their lives. They are, just in ways you can’t see or understand.

  3. PrisonerinaBarlessPrison says:

    If only some of my friends could see this… One of my friends just thinks I’m too weak to overcome something everyone goes through. She said that much to me, I don’t know what else she is thinking. I wish I could show this to her.. At least some people will see this, and help out their friends.. If anyone reads this, please be easy on your friends that have depression.. Don’t force them to become a recluse.

  4. IcecreamShouldBeBlack says:

    Another thing not to say “You’re Seeking Attention”

    I think: uh no! This stuff is serious, and not something to joke about! You honestly think that I would stoop that low, make my family struggle, and lie to a doctor?? This is real! REAL!

    I feel: more depressed because obviously there is something wrong with me if you think so lowly of me. I doubt myself more, and further critisize myself for not making you proud of me in any way.

    • nochnoch says:

      HI IcecreamShouldBeBlack

      Good insight there and thanks for the analysis. Yeh I would feel accused of doing something I didn’t if somebody said that to me. Not pleasant. Though at the same time I could understand where they are coming from. We all need a bit more compassion and empathy for each other and see things from each other’s points of views. That way lots of misunderstandings can dispel.

      NN
      p.s. black seasame icecream is black :)

  5. Seriously says:

    Are you seriously kidding me, the people on the outside are trying to help you so by trying to get the to stay positive and concentrate on different things to help them and get their mind off it is a way they try to help, so if you get so mad about it, seriously fuck off and deal with the problem alone because you obviously don’t want help or support, and by saying that you would disown someone who would say some if that stuff well I think I would rather be disowned then be dealing with someone who has no appreciation what so ever, so my advice to you is to fucking open your eyes and actually start to appreciate the ones trying to help or your just going to be alone for the rest of your life, if your not already…

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Seriously

      Thanks for sharing your point of view. For one, I am not alone and have a loving husband with many loving friends who have helped me go through. All of them know I appreciate their help and support. And all of them appreciate this post which tells them how I felt when I was in my worst episodes and what to avoid to say to aggravate mental illness. It is not about not wanting help, but about how to give and receive help for my friends and for myself. Unless we communicate, we won’t know what each other is thinking. Also, there is a tone of sarcasm and humour in this post which I imagine not everyone will get, so my apologies if you took offense to being disowned. Like you mentioned, I hope everybody has their minds and eyes opened – and that we will constantly remind ourselves to keep them open and re-evaluate our own viewpoints

      Again, thank you for coming by and leaving us a comment to add into the discussion.
      NN

      • Abe says:

        Nochnoch, I realize my comment arrives very late, but I wanted to share how much I admire your restraint in responding to Seriously’s “comment.” Having heard similar opinions (to Seriously’s) throughout my life, and not having any family or close friends today (maybe his ending curse came to fruition in my own life), I’ve now simply stopped sharing, opening up. His (or hers) has become the overwhelmingly dominant social perspective, and despite the pleasant rhetoric commonly offered to the contrary, it seems to me that most, on confronting the understandably daunting challenges of someone else’s struggles with depression, are content to write the depressed off after enough (?) unsuccessful attempts at intervention.

        For most of my life I’d lie to keep those who’d try to help, or coworkers and neighbors…, from becoming frustrated and, like Seriously, ultimately angry with me. But without any reprieve from depression over the decades feigning emotional integrity became exhausting, so expecting the vitriol Seriously displayed, I ultimately retreated. I understand depression affects far more than the depressed, and have no solutions (especially for the treatment resistant depressed). Maybe others’ understanding and patience really is too much to hope for, especially if they didn’t know and love you in advance of your worst bouts of depression.

        Anyhow, I wish I could reply as calmly and graciously as you have to the exceedingly painful words so many like Seriously pelt in, again, understandable frustration. But the fight has utterly gone from me.

        • nochnoch says:

          Hi Abe

          Thanks for your comment. I used to feel the same anger and rage, but then I learnt it’s not about me, it’s about them. Slowly I can take a step back and let the anger subside. Yet it is true, that such words make us recoil and we feel the rejection. Thus deepening the misunderstandings. it is a vicious cycle. I only hope that we would not give up. But it takes time. Don’t blame yourself or pressure yourself, i appreciate your contribution to the discussion and bringing in the different perspectives.

          Take care
          Noch Noch

    • Sadie says:

      There’s an angry person.

  6. jeffrey says:

    Maybe the 5,8 and 9 in my opinion, you shouldn’t feel that way. Although in all those words you mentioned may also worsen depression but at some point, I think you should also feel the other way around. I think it will all depend on the strength of your mind, personality and support systems that may help you will identify what’s the problem, and in time, the solution.

    • nochnoch says:

      that’s true Jeffrey, a lot of people who are depressed fail to see from the other perspective, and their illnesses prevents them sometimes, and that’s the whole irony of the illness. I fthey can see from the other way, they won’t be depressed. Though I think as we recover, we do have the ability to see from other perspectives, and it’s true, we have to help ourselves and maintain our thinking and strength.

      NN

  7. Richardo Mustachio says:

    “Back in my day we didn’t have time to sit and dwell on our feelings, we had work to do, nobody just sat around felt sorry for themselves like your generation does all the time. I had times when I was pretty sad too at your age, but I just pushed it aside and got the job done. But now it’s the “me me me” generation, a bunch of “scream’n me-mes” like the world revolves around them, like you want the world just handed to you. The are just looking for a hand out, none of them want to work or except responsibility for their actions, just blame it on their parents!”

    How THAT felt:
    Like the superior foot of an older and better age just stepped on my snail’s shell of strength and self identity. Like millions of noses of millions of Boomers and crotchety old goats turned upwards in mass denouncement of the existence of my very being, my validity to exist as anything other than a worrisome statistic on a Fox News report. Something else to hate, to blame.

    What I Thought:
    Who the f&#$ are you?! Who are you to justify your blind naivete, to focus your ignorant frustrated aggression on me? You were “sad” when you were my age? Why? Too young for the draft, little to know parental supervision, mountains of free sex, drugs and homemade whine at unparalleled musical venues in an era where a kid could get away with damn near anything? Really? Go cry your pitiful memory a river, build a bridge and JUMP OFF! You have no idea what I face, you wont even wiki it for the love of god! Get off your high hoarse and see for yourself! You clearly suffered at no point in your life like I had! And, yes. There were millions of people around you at your age that felt this way! They all got carted away to some hole in the ground replete with electroshock therapy, killed them selves, never went outside and were hushed up in secret, or got killed by bullies! The conditions of life have improved to the point where these illnesses and social failure have come to light and are being dealt with, and if burnt out hippies and others of your ilk hadn’t beaten or neglected or took so much drugs or alcohol while carrying us in there wombs, the generations of today would have stood more of a f*&$ chance in the rotten world you’ve handed us. Way to go ass holes!

    -Mental ranting is a specialty of mine.

    • Richardo Mustachio says:

      That all came out rather suddenly, forgive me for the numerous grammatical and spelling errors. Also, this was a bit personal in nature, and not as easily identifiable to others as I had intended.

    • Sadie says:

      Hey, I’m one of those boomers, who has been,and is periodically, majorly depressed. Please don’t judge as all in one lump. Thank God…a lot has come to light and how to deal with these issues, in the last 50, or so years! But…there are still a bunch of assholes that judge…because, don’t you know?, they see the vulnerabilities in people and steamroll, right over them, for fun. Makes them feel superior in some perverted way. Pretty sick, themselves.

      • Ricardo Mustachio says:

        We live in an age that is both more understanding *and* asshole-ish than ever before (due largely to niceties and manners being an increasingly rare phenomena if not any actual shift in human nature to *increased* deuchbaggery.), ironic, yes but greater acceptance means more than just embracing the “good” things I suppose.

        I framed my reaction and rant sections of this contribution to reflect more the simpler or more nostalgic view of the past as expressed by the person saying “that” to me. My response indicated what I believed they were basing their accusations on, not necessarily historical fact, but I do confess to have been a bit generation-ist (prejudiced against certain generations) more lately, partly due to staying with my grandparents and coping with my grandfather’s “grumpy old man syndrome” and in part due to…. well just look at the news. Sorry.

        The person I loosely quoted from is my father who, though well meaning, is largely oblivious to the effects his actions have on others.

        In contrast to some of the less than ideal practices and qualities of certain generations post the “Greatest Generation” including the erosion of what was once such a promising infrastructure that fueled our nation’s seemingly boundless possibilities, there are some marked improvements brought about by their having lived. I specifically mean the “Boomers”. Music, art, the booming American wine industry, increased cultural racial and sexual acceptance, Apple (for that crowd), environmental awareness and an increase in secularism (my preference, if not others) have all been drawn from or established by the hippie movement or the later affluence and remarkable innovation of post-hippie liberal professionals (silicon valley tech companies….)

        so, to recap; great food, wine, technology and a less “stick up our collective ass” attitude towards differences, or all the things I really love, can be attributed in some way or another to my parent’s generation. As well as the great recession….. you cant have everything i guess ;)

  8. Julzey says:

    Boyfriend comment: but what about me, I hate my life, just stop it and when I start crying he comments oh here we go again.
    I hate what I’m doing to him, he deserves so much better than me, I know what the right thing to do but I can’t let him go cause I love him so much. I try to help him by telling him when he says something that makes feel sad but he takes it as if I calling him shit. Men

  9. soul sista says:

    Hi guys. Have any of you ever heard of Recovery International? Me neither until recently. It’s been around for 75 years developed by a very compassionate psychiatrist (who is now dead) and their program is making a comeback. It has cured some people but it definitely provides the RELIEF we desperately hope for, even if it’s just for that evening until the next meeting. They have online meetings, too. FREE.

    I just wrote a blog post about it.

  10. you definitely DO NOT SAY… whats wrong? over and over and over.

    because the person will get angry. VERY ANGRY. that has happened to me… :(

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Ms. Know it all
      I don’t like it when people ask me that either. I usually grunt and mutter “Nothing!”
      But i guess those who ask are just concerned, and you probably asked out of well intentions. Sorry sometimes our reactions are so strong and seem out of proportion, but I guess when someone asks me “what’s wrong”, I just feel so much is wrong I dont even know where to start! And then I get angry at myself for feeling that things are wrong, but let out the anger on the person who asked me…
      NN

  11. Kaylie says:

    Another thing not to say: This is your choice, if you want to be happy just be. When my boyfriend said this it only showed how ignorant he was about depression. If I had to choose anyway to feel, this would not be it!

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Kaylie

      Yeh that’s a good one. Some people think we choose to be miserable – granted, some people do choose to be miserable for attention, but I don’t think anyone who suffers mental health issues chooses to do so!

      NN

  12. SanityBeMyFriend says:

    Has anyone ever had a headache that was so bad you wanted to pull the hair right out of your head? Depression feels like that, it’s a different pain, but just as intense at its peaks. Being able to tell someone about it, I imagine, would be such a relief.

    There’s a reason why I never tell anyone about my depression. Been there, done that, got those stupid empty words. Tired of worrying about what they think but don’t say.

    Well, it’s not like I blame the people who say those things. It’s hard for them too. I would most likely be in the same boat if the situation were reversed. But the fact is those words do not have the effect people intent it to have and it hurts. A lot.

    So I shut up and pretend I’m fine. And some days I am. Then other days I’m in the middle of pretending and something small happens or someone says something and… …I find myself sitting on the floor in the corner of the bathroom or kitchen, hating myself and wishing I was different, struggling with that silent choking feeling you get when you get stuck between crying and not crying. (or maybe that’s just me)

    I don’t blame them or their words, mainly I just get so frustrated it hurts. Which maked me angry. Not at them but at me.

    Still I’m hopeful. A lot more hopefull than I used to be. Call me crazy but I’m actually planning on being completely honest about it next year when I move. Imagine that!

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi SanityBeMyFriend

      Good on you for telling people. Sometimes, I find, it’s not so much about how others react when they hear it, but on how it helps you when you come to terms with depression and are not “ashamed” by it. Embracing it, talking about it, also helps others understand you more

      Good luck. Let us know how it goes!
      NN

  13. owl says:

    I like this list. I really dont like it when people say these things to me.

    But the funny thing about it is that a lot of these are used in therapy.
    …maybe thats why I hate therapy…

  14. appleseed says:

    I lost my best friend. And having something ruin what we had breaks my heart so much….She was my friend, my supportive friend… and losing that shifted things for me and caused me depression. I mean.. life seems more bleak now. I remember all of our memories and wish if I could just sink my arms into a cold lake something warm would come out of it… Its hurtful when people tell you to forget about someone like that, as if people are doing anything to fill that spot well…

    I dislike it when people pressure you to get better or just tell you to do more things you like… haha!! in that mentality nothing really seems satisfying ..your body …you who you are is focused on solving that problem everything else just seems like empty ambiance…

    ” there are plenty of other people you can be friends with losing this one friend is not the end of the world it happens all the time…”. Or to do things that I like to do, but why would I want to distract myself and leave a problem unsolved only for that to become worst. Like a wound that goes untreated because someone invited you to knotts berry farm. I know my grammar is probably super off lol I think this is interesting though and its cool to comment on this article. It helped me feel better :)

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Appleseed

      I’m glad the article and writing a comment helped you feel better. I don’t know how to help you resolve your grief, perhaps a counselor can help you. Or perhaps you need to go through it yourself. Give yourself some time, and you will find the way that is most appropriate for you to work through it.

      Big hugs
      NN

  15. Christine says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I’ve dealt with depression for over half my life, & have had very few people that I even shared with. I didn’t even share with my doctor for the first 15+ years, because I was afraid of what the doctor & my family would say/do. I feel like there’s something wrong with me, & now I’m dealing with post partum depression, & even more afraid to share that.

  16. Christine says:

    Also, gor those that keep saying “do something you love, or something you enjoy, ” they must not realize that part of depression is that you don’t enjoy the things that you used to. I usually enjoy crochet, but haven’t been able to get into it for the last two years.

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Christine

      What a burden that must be, for so many years. Have you found a way to deal with it now? Do you have a doctor you can trust now to help you?
      Yes, a lot of people don’t realize the irony of depression, that the cure for it, are the exact symptoms of the illness. I’m glad the article helped you somehow

      Noch Noch

  17. Steven says:

    This year I made the girl I love (Ash.)hate me on valentines day, 8 months ago. I didn’t do anything but got blamed for what my friend did. Then my grandma got sick and I said “no” to go see her so I could say sorry to Ash. She still hasn’t forgiving me. In July my father went to prison for 1 year and 4 months. Ash. moved on the 5th. I haven’t told anyone how depressed I’ve been. I hate it when someone asks how I am, I always lie and say I’m good. I don’t know what to do. I’ve been forgetting things lately. I get so caught up in my thoughts I drop things I hold because I forget I’m holding it. What happened keeps replaying in my head along with almost everything I’ve done wrong this year.

  18. LisaParchita says:

    This is one of the best things I’ve read in years. It says exactly what I’m feeling. I tried to tell a friend that I’m tired of hearing “stay positive” and then was told my negative energy was sucking the positive energy from her and she was “leaving this conversation.” I felt even worse. People have no clue that what they are saying is doing more harm and making me feel worse about myself. I’m going to print this out and send it to everyone in their Christmas cards, along with telling them I’m depressed. Thank you sooo much for writing this. This actually cheered me up!

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Lisa

      Glad it helped cheer you up. I think some people don’t understand clinical depression, that the whole irony is that we can’t bring ourselves to be “positive” even though we know we need to. Actually, by distracting us, it might actually help us be “positive” without constantly telling us. That’s how my husband helped me.

      Hope you found something to smile about today

      NN

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Lisa
      Glad it helped cheer you up. I think some people don’t understand clinical depression, that the whole irony is that we can’t bring ourselves to be “positive” even though we know we need to. Actually, by distracting us, it might actually help us be “positive” without constantly telling us. That’s how my husband helped me.
      Hope you found something to smile about today NN

  19. Karen says:

    Thank you. I am trying desperately to save my relationship while supporting my loved one. I’m not going to lie…this is one of the most difficult things I’ve gone through, but doing my research certainly helps me to better understand. Whenever I feel like my only option is to give up on us, I go online and read to remind myself that I have to approach and deal with this differently than a “normal” relationship. I can honestly say that I knew not to say most of the things on you list, but I have said numbers 1 and 2 many times, thinking they were positive statements. For me, it is how I remain positive, but now I understand that it is not that way for someone dealing with depression. So, thank you for your insight. I will certainly put your advice to practice.

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Karen

      I am glad it helped you, and I hope the relationship works out. It must be tough on you too. One thing my psychologist said to my husband, is that to remember, that I am still me, but the person he sees is under the influence of depression, and to allow for that space and time.

      Noch Noch

  20. Laura says:

    Another thing not to say to a depressed person:

    “The only one who can change your mood, is you”
    or
    “You need to take charge/responsibility for your emotions”

    I think: I’m going to break something if you say one more stupid thing. Do you honestly think that I even have the ability to even BEGIN to strategize a change in my mood? Going to sleep is the only option for changing my own mood, because even the nightmares are better than this.

    I feel: Even more depressed (As though it couldn’t get any worse), alone, misunderstood, heartbroken, scared, resentful, and tortured.

  21. Ang says:

    My husband tells me “yea, I’m depressed and have anxiety too. I deal with it.” In other words he’s the same as me and I need to just get over it. Worse thing he’s EVER said to me, ” Your a mom, you can’t be depressed.” And also, from the man that drinks beer everyday “You need to quit drinking. I drink because I have a job and work hard, backpain ect.” That one hurts hard too, I too now drink almost everyday. Just to self medicate and try to be happier even if only temporarily. My children bring me much happiness but along with that they are demanding as all children are. How can I take great care of them when I’m struggling to just get out of bed in the morning? I put on my happy face and try not to lash out in anger at the littlest thing. It hurts so bad that the one person (my husband) I open up too just puts me in a psychotic rage instead of making me feel better. My husband loves me and just wants better for me. He just goes about it in the worst way. I feel like I have no one to turn to unless I get professional help. Then everyone will know and my secret will be out among family. I just don’t know if I can handle that. I also can’t go on like this. I just feel stuck , not sure what to do.

  22. Michelle says:

    People, i. e. family, boyfriend, etc. telling you you’re crazy! They either don’t understand or don’t want to. It’s their problem not mine. I’ve learned that I’m not crazy, no matter how many people may say it.

  23. anon says:

    I hate when people say “Oh but he/she is REALLY depressed”. As if what I’m telling them isn’t true or somehow less valid because I don’t actively try to kill myself or blabber about my suicidal thoughts. It makes me feel as though I am fabricating my illness and looking for attention.
    What I want to say, is yeah I feel like that too. I wish I was dead all the time. However, I feel powerless to do this because of the stigma that is still associated with depression. I feel like I’m a bad person for having this illness. The fact that they are minimizing my feelings and comparing me to others definitely doesn’t help.

  24. bleugh says:

    I hate when people say “Oh but he/she is REALLY depressed”. As if what I’m telling them isn’t true or somehow less valid because I don’t actively try to kill myself or blabber about my suicidal thoughts. It makes me feel as though I am fabricating my illness and looking for attention.
    What I want to say, is yeah I feel like that too. I wish I was dead all the time. However, I feel powerless to do this because of the stigma that is still associated with depression. I feel like I’m a bad person for having this illness. The fact that they are minimizing my feelings and comparing me to others definitely doesn’t help.

  25. Xenia says:

    Since I lost my dad 3 years ago I have fallen into a very deep depression I have no interest in anything no desire of having a social life or friends have no faith or trust people I just cry every day do not want to get out of bed I am scare of lots of thins I hate my job get severe panic attacks at times I think of suicidal don’t take care of myself in any way I feel miserable it is very boring I know what I should do to make my life better but don’t have the desire instead I rather party on my own at my house to escape from reality I truly hate my life but I do not dislike what I do to escape from it all

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  28. hxh says:

    That’s exactly why i don’t get it! Thankyou!

  29. hopeless says:

    you have no idea about any of my life. if you have never been depressed you never will get it

  30. Apophrades says:

    Depression is also a condition that is caused by things other than feelings. Mine, like most people that I know, suffer from depression that stems from a chemical imbalance. I have a neurological condition that, without warning, can cause paralysis, aphasia, and extreme depression despite the fact that I am on chemotherapy, high dosages of vitamins, and stron antidepressants.

  31. nochnoch says:

    Hi Apophrades

    Thanks for adding to the discussion. Yes depression is also caused by chemical imbalance so as you suggest, we need to understand the root cause to find the right solution!

    Noch Noch

  32. Bryan Bray says:

    Hey thanks you just pointed out that its not peoples fault that there depressed. scientificly to:)

  33. SJ says:

    Noch Noch
    How do we find and understand the root cause of our depression?
    Thanks

  34. nochnoch says:

    Hi SJ

    I think we all have different ways to find out and have different reasons. AS I am not a professional medic I can only share my experience. For me it was through anger. Through my anger and crying, I started realizing there were more emotions under the anger, i noted down the emotion under the anger – was it disappointment, sadness, belittlement, frustration, being ignored… etc? then with the help of my psychologist, we did Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, where I wrote down also the behaviour associated with these emotions, how did I act, what did I say. Eventually, I also wrote down what I was thinking at that incident. Slowly my thoughts became clearer, and I could look back into the past and find a lot of little things which hurt me in the past which I have suppressed or never processed in a healthy way, which became accumulated anger and stress. Then with each incident, I had to process it in my mind and let it go.

    Another thing was stress, I had to identify the ways the environment, others, and myself caused stress for me, where my stress level was and how did I cope. I realized I did not cope as well as I thought

    I cannot rule out hereditary depression but my parents and ancestors were never diagnosed so I wouldn’t know. My depression was not a long standing biological problem, so it became primarily a mental health issue. Most doctors deduced the depression and other somatic illnesses I suffered to be caused by stress.

    This was how I found out what caused and the root of my depression

    Hope this helps
    NN

  35. Mark Welsh says:

    I am a house painter- I am trained as a classical artist, but no one was waiting to pay me to be one after my training- So I began painting historic homes. This work is not the most intellectually difficult one could have picked to occupy ones thoughts, but it has provided me with ample opportunity to bear witness to my own though processes, and what states of awareness they can contribute to, be it depression or exhalted states of realization. The last thing most people want is free intellectual time to ponder topics that could trigger depression or tipping one to question their world & life view that might push them out of their comfort zone, even if their comfort zone is sadly, being depressed. But it has afforded me to become familiar with places within I’d rather avoid.

    Many things have occurred to me over the decades about depression, and it’s many subtle layers and colors. I say layers because I have experienced moments of clarity in my musings that some depressions are healthy and spiritually proper reactions to what is wrong in the world and within ourselves. It is a warm/ spiritual depression born of an opening of our hearts to what is not right within or without and we are admitting to it with intent of working for change.

    My point to is that , some depressions, are not your depression, but you have awareness of it’s presence due to your proximity to it’s infecting you. This was great news for me, that some of my depressions were my cellular memory of having experienced others depression and this knowing gave me distance inside to allow it to be present with out identifying with it.
    This disassociation from certain depressions gave me interior freedom and confidence that it would not overpower me as it once had.

    M

  36. nochnoch says:

    Hi Mark

    I am not sure I completely understand what you mean by disassociation from certain depressions, but nonetheless, depression have also given me some clarity in my musings and helped me become more self-aware. This blog is a journey for my ups and downs, depressed or not

    Thanks again for your input and adding a dimension to the discussion

    NN

  37. Ricardo Mustachio says:

    You’re damn right.

    That’s why I stopped trying to explain it at all (at least 90 % of the time). Sometimes though, people who “have been” depressed, versus people who actually have depression, believe they *get it* and just like them, all you have to do is get a puppy, or go for a walk, or toughen up and get the job done, whatever that might be. Its like people who have seen war on the military channel tell a soldier with ptsd “that doesn’t look so bad”.

    my contribution to things not to say to a depressed person:

    “Back in my day you didn’t have time to sit and worry, no one knew what it was and we…. spent less time in our heads/ just got the job done ’cause we had to/ didn’t have the luxury of spending all day whining…”

    how i felt: Incredulous! How could one be so condescending? So obtuse? How many are so ignorant to realities beyond their tiny and ever-limited spectrum of experiences? Shocked at the complete lack of tact and perspective I silently foam at the mouth, speechless yet rabid. Not knowing where to start. Or how.

    What I thought/did: RANT!!!! in my head, for like 20 minutes strait. Swallow the loss, go green at the gills for a bit and grab a drink or six to stop the f*#^&ing caring so damn much factor and work for hours to build the perfect rebuttal, only to weekly fart out a few words to a disinterested, older-generation, mightier-than-though know-it-all.

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about Noch Noch

Noch Noch is born and raised in Hong Kong and Australia. She has also studied / worked / lived in the US, France, UK, Japan, The Netherlands, China, and has travelled to more than 40 countries. Noch Noch loves travelling and her curiosity in foreign cultures and languages has led her to enjoy her life as an international executive for the last 7 years in the banking & finance industry. However, she was forced to take time off work in 2011 due to her illnesses and now spends her time in recovery, cooking, practising Chinese calligraphy, reading and writing – in short, learning to take care of herself and letting out the residual work stress.