Why Telling a Depressed Person to “Cheer Up” Is One of the Worst Things You Could Do
According to the World Health Organization, more than 264 million people suffer from depression globally. The statistic is an alarming sign that we not only need to take care of our own mental health, but we should look out for each other’s as well. However, even though we oftentimes mean well, our words can do more harm to a depressed person than we realize.
There are some common phrases people often say to a person with depression to console them, but they’re actually harmful. Reasonable Knowledge has listed them down below so you can become aware of them.
“You should go out more.”
While it’s true that getting sunlight boosts serotonin levels and walking or exercising, in general, can help one feel better, it’s important to note that depression is a serious health condition. A depressed person can’t just snap out of it by heading out. For them, even the simple task of getting out of bed is a challenge every day.
Even though you mean well, asking a depressed person to “cheer up” can, in turn, make them sadder. By asking them to shake it off, you end up denying their pain. If they could actually cheer up, they would. No one wishes to be sad.
“It’s all in your head.”
Depression is a serious issue and no, it’s not just in someone’s head. Its symptoms range from changes in appetite and loss of sleep to feeling tired and worthless. Saying this to a person implies that you don’t believe their condition is real.
If a depressed person complains about having severe backaches, frequent headaches, or worsening vision, they’re not making it up or overreacting. All of these are physical symptoms of depression which can make it really hard to go on with day-to-day life.
“Others have it harder.”
Different people have different levels of tolerance. Comparing your pain to others is something that should be avoided at all costs. Just because someone seems to be having it “harder,” it doesn’t mean that others don’t have the right to feel sad about their own problems.
“You don’t look depressed.”
A depressed person doesn’t necessarily have to look depressed — smiling depression is a real thing. These people, even though they feel terrible inside, never show it in public and wear a smile like a mask. In fact, their colleagues and co-workers would never believe it if you told them that this particular person had depression.
Instead of forcing your opinions on others or judging them, we suggest you simply try to understand them, give them space, and treat them with kindness. You never know what someone is going through.
Have you ever battled depression? How did you cope with it?