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What Not To Say To Someone With Depression/anxiety

  1. People might think they are being helpful but actually they can do more harm

    "Don't worry" is probably the worst thing to say to someone like me, if I could not worry I'd have done it by now.

    "Get a grip" "pull yourself together" "you'll get over it" "it's just a bad patch/phase/day you are going through" none of these are helpful. They are if anything belittling of what for me is crippling illness.

    "I understand what you are going through" no you probably don't unless you are in my head. Even two people with diagnosed depression, whilst we may share similiar symptoms, could not say they understood what the other is going through as mental illness, can differ from one person to the next.

    "My relative/friend/colleague had that so I understand what you are going through..." see above.

    I'm no expert but the best thing a manager said to me when I told him about my mental health problems was "what can I do to help you?" And if you can do then do it, something as simple as giving me a day off when I need it can make all the difference. Listening without judgement can make a difference, the reason people don't talk about it openly is because of what they think other people will say if they knew.

    Whilst listening is important always seek professional/expert help, don't assume you know better, or you think you know what is best for someone like me because you can make things much worse as was the case for me, my manager at the time found himself very much out of his depth and thought he was helping but only succeeded in making it worse to the point I was seriously considering suicide.

    "It's easier to build a child than fix an adult, choose your words carefully." Unknown

    Stay safe where ever you are and know you are not alone.
    Take Heart likes this.


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  1. Take Heart
    I agree. I usually tune people out/ignore when others (although well-meaning) tell me to simply not worry. I have anxiety which comes in waves. Most days, I am fine thankfully but on those bad days, it can be pretty overwhelming. I personally prefer when someone acknowledges what I'm going through instead of shrugging it off and sending me on my way with a one-liner or a cliche phrase. I also appreciate it when someone tells me that they have felt the same way and offer comforting words of understanding and maybe even something that has personally helped them through it.
      The-Doctor likes this.