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8 Things Somebody with Depression Never Wants To Hear

8 Things Somebody with Depression Never Wants To Hear

Depression is a serious medical condition that is often misunderstood by the general public. Unfortunately, many people who have never suffered from the disease tend to underestimate the detrimental effects it can have on a person’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Many well-meaning friends may say or do something intended to help a loved one that will ultimately make things much worse for the suffering individual. If you want to help a friend through this incredibly difficult stage of life, avoid saying any of the following:

1. Have you tried…?

Yes, yes I have. Listening to music, going outside, seeing a psychiatrist. I’ve tried everything. I’d do anything to not feel like this all of the time. Unfortunately, going through depression is a work in progress. There is no single way to get through it. But believe me, nothing you suggest is going to flip a switch in my head and turn off my depression.

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2. You shouldn’t dwell on things so much

You’re right, I shouldn’t. But I can’t help it. That’s literally what depression does. It takes all of the negative aspects of a person’s life and magnifies them a thousand times over, so it’s impossible to see any sort of silver lining through the gigantic dark clouds above. It’s almost impossible not to dwell on the negative when it’s the only thing your brain is allowing you to see.

3. What are you so sad about?

If I knew, I’d work on it. Depression is an enigmatic disease which makes it difficult to pinpoint the problem, and so it’s impossible to figure out how to fix what’s wrong. I know there are good things going on in my life, but I just can’t be happy about them. Bringing this to my attention only serves to make me more sad. I know you want to help, but just let me be sad without pointing out the reasons I should be happy.

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4. You just gotta have fun!

Oh, it’s that easy? Let me get right on that. Actually, depression hits the hardest when you realize you no longer enjoy the things you used to enjoy doing. When you’re in a “bad mood,” it helps to watch a comedy, or go to the driving range. But when you’re depressed, even these fun activities aren’t enough to improve your mood. And, again, when you realize you’re not enjoying yourself when doing something you used to love, this only digs you deeper into a depressive hole.

5. You shouldn’t rely on pills to make you happy

Not everyone suffering from depression relies on medication, but those who do usually do so as a last resort. Depression medication has a ridiculous amount of side effects that no one would voluntarily put themselves through unless they absolutely had no other choice. We didn’t just get a friend of a friend who happens to be a doctor sign off on medication for us; we actually need it to be able to function semi-normally.

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6. Don’t cry

Why not? I’d rather feel sadness than nothing at all. At least when I’m crying I know I can still feel something. And sometimes, it actually makes me feel better. If I stop crying, it will only serve you; you’ll probably think I’m “over” whatever I was sad about. But if I withhold tears for everyone else’s sake, I’m most likely just bottling things up and am doing myself a disservice.

7. You have a lot to be happy about

I know I do! I know I have a roof over my head and food in my fridge, but that’s not what this is about. I can’t even enjoy the taste of a good meal because my mind is playing tricks on every other part of my body. I know I have a good job, but that’s not enough to get me up and out of bed on my worst days. Like I said before, pointing out all the reasons I should be happy is only going to have the opposite effect.

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8. Snap out of it

Why didn’t I think of that? This should never be said to anyone who’s visibly upset, let alone someone suffering from depression. If you broke your leg, you couldn’t just decide not to have a broken leg anymore. The same goes for depression. It requires medical attention, therapy, and a gradual return to baseline in order to be cured correctly. Pushing it before you’re ready will only exacerbate the problem in the long run. Just give me the time I need to get better, and I’ll get there eventually.

Featured photo credit: Depression / Victor via farm9.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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