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20 Sentences People with Depression Hate Hearing the Most

20 Sentences People with Depression Hate Hearing the Most

Why are people so unsympathetic when their friends or loved ones suffer from depression? The main reason is that depression is very difficult to fully understand. Another reason is that there is a stigma attached to being depressed. Even though we live in a society which seems to revolve around physical well-being and being upbeat, we don’t want to be reminded of the other side. We want to forget depression exists. A person with cancer is likely to get a lot more support than a person suffering from depression.

It’s even worse when friends and relatives give some advice which does not help at all. The sad fact is that these opinions reflect an appalling ignorance about this mental illness. No, depression was not invented for Big Pharma, like some sort of conspiracy. This illness affects 350 million people worldwide. It causes enormous suffering and is a contributory factor in death by suicide. The alarming fact is that less than 50% of patients will seek treatment, mainly because of ignorance and apathy.

Here are 20 pieces of advice which are pretty useless when you are trying to help a loved one suffering from depression. Do not use these phrases if you’re trying to be sympathetic. They may have the opposite effect than desired.

1. You should snap out of it

If you suffer from depression, I bet you envy how simple snapping out of it would be! This is not just a temporary blip on your sadness/happiness scale. It is debilitating, to the point where you cannot even get out of bed in the morning. You find it difficult to summon up enough energy. Motivation is beyond your capabilities.

If you note these symptoms in a friend, make sure that she or he gets diagnosed and treated. Especially if these feelings last more than two weeks. Symptoms will vary enormously. You may notice hopelessness, appetite and sleep problems. The important thing is to get a diagnosis.

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2. Other people are far worse off, you know

This is not going to help a person solve their problems! The depressed person just needs a person to be there and give support. You do not have to say anything if that embarrasses you. However, you can also tell the person that they can get better and that you will be there to support them.

3. Life is tough

This will probably reinforce how bad the depressed person is feeling, rather than help them. You could help them more by saying that you feel empathy for them and are willing to help them get through it. Treatment may take the form of medication and/or psychotherapy.

4. You have to get on with it

This sends the wrong message. It reinforces the sense of isolation that a depressed person feels. The best way to help them is by sending texts or just phoning them to let them know there is someone who cares. Susan Serani’s book, Living with Depression provides excellent examples of practical ways to help.

5. You are too introspective

The implication here is that depression really is a minor problem. You’ll come across as being judgemental and critical. The best way to show affection and love is to avoid statements like these which isolate the individual even more.

6. You are far too sensitive

This belittles the depressed person because they will think that their illness is being regarded as a character flaw and nothing else. A much better approach would be to take the person out for a walk. You can try and encourage them to get out and do something every day.

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7. Life goes on

“Living with depression is like living with a 40 ton weight on your chest — you want to get up and move, but you just feel like you can’t.” – from an anonymous individual suffering from depression.

Telling a depressed patient that life goes on anyway will appear like brushing the whole thing under the carpet. It will appear that you are not really concerned at all.

8. Just go out and enjoy yourself

Suggesting fun times does not help at all, unless you are prepared to accompany your depressed friend and encourage them to try to take baby steps every day. Lending support means being there, or at least phoning to remind them that they have to do “X” today and “Y” tomorrow.

9. Aches and pains are just normal

A strange thing about depression is how often the condition is diagnosed by patients experiencing physical aches and pains, rather than mood and motivation problems. Encourage them to get a diagnosis and offer your help.

10. You have got so many things to be grateful for

The depressed patient does not want to hear about gratitude. Their main worry is that the sheer exhaustion and loss of interest will become permanent. It is always a good idea to remind the suffering individual that treatment can be effective. Depression need not last forever.

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11. Cheer up

My uncle used to tell my depressed aunt to, “Cheer up”. The effect was just the opposite. It actually made her cry even more. His total misunderstanding of her condition was not helpful at all.

12. You’re strong, you will be fine

Yes, some people are strong and may have even coped with despondency or despair. If you are depressed, you may feel that your life means nothing to anyone else out there. Again, just listening can be reassuring for the person with depression.

13. You should stop feeling sorry for yourself

This suggests that the depressed person has a rather weak personality and is flawed in some way. A much more helpful response would be to actually sitting down and listening to the depressed person’s problems and feelings.

14. You should take vitamins for your stress

An offer of an over-the-counter cure will not help at all, as you are not really qualified. It is much better to urge the sufferer to get treatment and to offer to accompany them, or help them seek a specialist.

15. You should phone me

If you are a real friend, you should be the person who reaches out to the sufferer and show him or her that you really do care.

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16. You should buy nicer clothes

Your friend’s wardrobe may look a mess, but this will not cure their depression. Going on a shopping trip together would be a much better idea.

17. You know that everyone has problems

When you say this, the implication is that the depressed person has actually made a choice to be miserable and unhappy. Comparisons with the vast majority of the population are not at all helpful. It would be much better to say that you are trying to understand their problems. Encourage them to seek help and advice online.

18. You should try harder

Harsh and critical comments like this will not help one little bit. The attitude of family members and close friends are often crucial in whether a person will recover from depression.

19. You should be better by now

Impatience is a sign to the depressed person that nobody really understands what they are going through. A more compassionate approach without deadlines would be much more helpful.

20. You will have to learn to live with it

Learning to live with depression with no way out is like entering a dark tunnel. Pep talks, platitudes and the so-called encouraging remarks only make matters worse. It is much better to follow the steps I have outlined below if you really want to help.

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What we can do to help depressed persons

  • Most experts agree that just being there and being supportive can be very helpful.
  • We can learn about depression, its causes and symptoms
  • We can encourage the depressed person to get diagnosed and treatment. We can help them with day-to-day tasks and objectives. We can also stop by and remind them of a task later that day. Or we can simply give them a call, and have a short chat while we’re at it.
  • We can encourage them to join online forums which cater to depressed persons. This is a great place to get support although it will never be as effective as a real live presence.
  • We should never give the impression that it is the patient’s fault or criticize them in any way.
  • We should encourage and supervise their daily routines such as regular eating, exercise and sleep.
  • We should be able to talk to them about suicide, should they mention it. The important thing is to go over the thoughts but suggest a different solution.

Let us know in the comments below how you have helped a depressed person on how to cope with their illness.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Novak via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

Reference

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