What To Say To Someone Dealing With Depression (And What Not To Say)

This story is in response to Youth Ki Awaaz’s topic for this week – #LetsTalk to start a conversation on the stigma around depression. If you have an opinion or personal story of dealing with or helping someone else deal with depression or suicidal thoughts, write to us here.

Depression: A Parallel Dark World

Depression is a ‘dread’ and this dread, in a person, leads to certain perceptible actions and the most common is ‘precluding the possible’ through certain indicators such as irritability, lack of focus and concentration, loss of energy, insomnia and, in extreme cases, suicidal tendencies.

Irritability tells you that you can’t be normal, lack of focus tells you that you cannot fix your mind on anything, loss of energy tells you of the loss of enthusiasm, insomnia tells you your mind is wandering and hence you cannot sleep. Since you are surrounded by such negativities in life, suicidal tendencies egg you on about your worthlessness and slowly whisper that you have no right to live.

The dread in human beings takes birth from insecurities.

Insecurity is a state of weakness that comes from a want of empathetic periphery. Insecurities could be multifarious ranging from fulfilment in personal life to social life to professional life.

Expectation is a two-way process and if marked by a feeling of failure leads to disappointment and if there is a repeated failure it leads to hopelessness.

Hopelessness procreates a belligerent state of mind. This state of mind is like a dark battle that you grapple hard with inside of you while still outwardly compelled to put on an apparent mask of a happy-go-lucky human being.

Depression brings people to a grim stage in life where their “saviour self’ gradually starts getting obscured by their “fiendish self”.

They find themselves standing at the crossroads of indecisiveness pertaining which “self” to listen to. Such indecisiveness creates mood swings in people because of the baffling “inner voice” that does not make a person feel good about themselves owing to the not-so-good external circumstances.

The condition gets alarming when people don’t feel ‘heard’ even if they want to talk as there are times when people do want to vent out the pent-up frustration but they lack an audience of commensurate understanding.

People at times take the mood swings as craziness and a gesture of insanity instead of trying to understand.

There are even times when people around seem to be quite fed-up and tired of a person’s looking up to them either to listen, help or be present, and the person with the tangible symptoms of depression faces “disguised instructions” in the form of solutions.

Some of the exemplary statements that a person with depression faces are worth a look. At the outset, almost everyone hears of having a lot to be grateful for.

This indicates that despite of having a bright side to look at, a person is willingly choosing all the negative aspects over the positive ones and that is how they have to deal with the shame of not being good enough to appreciate things around them.

Secondly, the instructions on the process of “overthinking” have its own important space. Consequently, the person is repeatedly told to undertake “meditation” activities to restore focus and concentration that have been killed by overthinking.

People hardly bother to ask the depressed as to what brings them peace of mind.

Thirdly, a complete utopian journey is created by saying “everything will be okay” without any concrete reassurance of presence or support to make them feel that they are not isolated or lonely.

Fourthly, they are advised to “be happy” and suggestions on how to be happy include painting, gardening, admiring the beauty of nature, getting up in the morning with a resolution to make others smile etc.

This is a “top-down” approach that is indicative of closing the option on the part of the depressed to open up and pour their hearts out to the listener.

Fifthly, it is often seen as a meaningless psychological issue if a depressed person have material accomplishments.

It is quite often termed as being “all in the head” that gives a great feeling of disability and helplessness.

People compare the situation of the depressed to people who have more serious issues to deal with in life, which is a futile comparison as there could be no real connection between the two struggles.

Well, the upshot of analysing the above statements is that depression instead of subsiding, lingers and prolongs if the surrounding of a person is filled with “indifference” in attitude and behaviour.

As already discussed, depression can happen to anyone with or without accomplishments; hence, depression could be a sign of a desiring support and cooperation which, in turn, creates an instinctive lack of empowerment.

Talking it out is a solution, but a sincerely lent ear is difficult to find as it is often believed that people can have thousands of acquaintances but few real friends.

Therefore, real empowerment is felt when one has dependable “team members”, be they “team family” or “team friends” to support a person through adverse emotional breakdowns thus acting as “reviving soul mates”.

Conclusively, it can be said that the dreaded blues of depression creep in due to the want of love, support, soulful connection, presence and togetherness in a person’s life creating a parallel world that is not visible on the outside, but is terribly difficult to sustain.

It has become one of the world’s most widespread illness, yet is effectively curable through the antidote of love and understanding. So let us extend our hands in cooperation to make each other feel good.

Let’s talk, let’s listen, let’s heal.

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