I can’t say I’m an expert on anything, but I mostly write from experience. And I can say that I’ve experienced bouts of depression. Like the death of a child or spouse, it’s a feeling you will never understand unless you’ve gone through it yourself. If you’ve never gone through depression and don’t understand how it feels, do not apologize for it. I would never wish for that kind of empathy. The only thing you need to understand is someone going through depression will not understand you. Because nothing is as it seems. Logic is thrown out the door. And as absurd as their thought process may be, if a depressed person thinks it – they will also believe it.
For those of you who feel helpless, because you do not know what to say to your friend who is going through depression, you don’t have to say anything. Nothing you can say will ever make it feel better, or make it disappear. You just have to let them know that you will not give up on them. But if you must say something, please don’t say the following. We know you mean well, but this is what some people hear when you tell them …
What you say: It’s just a phase.
What people with depression hear: What you’re feeling isn’t real. You’re not really sad. You aren’t worthy enough to have legitimate sadness.
What you say: You’re not depressed.
What people with depression hear: You’re crazy. You’re making everything up. You just want attention. You’re just making excuses. You’re being dramatic.
What you say: It’s easy.
What people with depression hear: You are stupid. You are weak. You aren’t strong enough to get better. You don’t want to get better. Otherwise, you would be able to overcome the sadness.