6 Actually Helpful Things to Say to a Person With Depression

This piece was written by Jazmine Reed, a Thought Catalog contributor.

First, I applaud most everyone who shares their thoughts, experiences and testimonies about their experiences with depression. As a writer, I know it takes an amount of courage and vulnerability to offer your work to the internet. It’s like walking into a circle of bullies and asking for a sucker punch. And as someone who has dealt with depression, I’ve felt these emotions myself.

We see a lot of articles about what not to say to a person with depression. So I wanted to answer the question, “What do I say to a person with depression?” Here are personal epiphanies and things that were said to me that helped when I was at the very least, in a dark place.

Disclaimer: There are so many different mental illnesses, so I understand not everything will be applicable to everyone. And I also recognize that some pain is so deep, so chronic, that it can only be resolved with therapy and/or medication. But support from friends and family are important, and these statements might be able to help.

“You are not your challenges.”

If you know someone who has a low self-esteem or is going through what feels like an impossible grieving process, remind them they are not defined by what they’re going through. Remind them of the sincere qualities they possess that make them worthy of happiness.

“Just know there are a million people in the world experiencing a similar pain.”

This may actually appear insensitive. Perhaps it is to some people. But I remember finding such an unusual comfort in knowing I am not the only one who has dark periods of turmoil. And I think of the thousands of people who will overcome whatever painful situation I am going through. And yeah, I do want to be one of those who do.

“Would you like to go see someone?”

Sometimes, we all need a little intervention. We want someone to give us the nudge we’re afraid to take. Offering a suggestion like therapy is not a cop-out or an insult, it’s saying, “It’s OK to take your pain seriously, and take care of it properly.” Also, the occasional therapy session is awesome! It’s like having a profound sounding board.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

Maybe this takes probing and an in-depth, raw conversation, but a listening ear can lead to revelations and breakthroughs. And I mean really listen when they speak; so often a friend or my mom was able to read me like a book.

“You were created to live a magnificent life.”

Similar to getting to the root of the problem, but remind them they are worthy, no matter what they’re going through. Life was given so that the soul could manifest. Remind them their life was meant for something, and they should honor that.

My best advice: Just do not brush off their pain

The worst thing I’ve heard as someone with depression is, “Get over it.” No one wants to feel helpless, so please just try to help them. Listen and extend positivity and sincerity.

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