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Stop that Comment

stop signs


Remember growing up and being told to eat everything on your plate?  When you complained you were told that the poor starving children in Korea (or China or Sudan – you pick the country) would appreciate having what you have.  If you smarted off you said you would be happy to pack up the food and send it. Nine chances out of ten, though, you simply ate the food, not really understanding why.

If you’ve been depressed or if you are a caregiver of a depressed person, you have probably heard the line, “Remember there is somebody worse off than you are.”  Sure there are people who are more depressed, although how you can figure that out is beyond me when we can’t even accurately diagnose or treat depression. And people all over the world are worse off – living in poverty conditions, losing all their family to war, dealing with earthquakes and tsunamis and tornadoes.

But the bottom line remains:  thinking this, remembering this DOES NOT help anyone’s depression or the depressed ones they live with.   It only serves to reinforce the fact that people don’t care, that people don’t want to help, and that the person struggling has to go it alone.

Next time you are tempted to use this line when talking to a depressed person or a caregiver, STOP!  Remember that each situation is unique, that each person is struggling in a way we can’t understand, and that we are not the people to decide the plan of action.

Instead, think about saying, “I can’t imagine what it is like for you.  I can’t imagine how hard it must be.”  Maybe you’ll learn something and the depressed individual or the caregiver will feel that someone does care.  And that is the best thing you can do.

– Bernadette

P.S. Congratulations to Amy on her eldest’s graduation from college!


2 Responses

  1. Amen. I couldn’t agree more. Shame layered on top of depression only drives it deeper.

    I felt awful when I was diagnosed with major depression. I had two beautiful, young sons, a great husband, a great house, etc. What is wrong with me? I often thought. I didn’t know about the unprocessed childhood trauma that was causing my depression and PTSD. Once I allowed myself to write and speak to a counselor uncensored and without judgement, I began to get better.

    Thanks for sharing such an important piece of wisdom. No one wants to be depressed. And it’s not about being ungrateful. It requires healing. 🙂

  2. […] This is a blog post from our friends at Depressions Collateral Damage. Check out their blog, there is some really great stuff there! […]

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