What *not* to say to someone with depression, continued…

I had to get back to this one. PJ is someone whom I’ve known a long time and in her response to the post I wrote before, I feel I need to address her well-detailed reply.

“Look at all the good things you have in your life”
That’s coming from someone who is ignorant BUT is trying to be supportive. They are trying to help in the only way they know how. They are trying to show you where the top of the pit is so you can start climbing out!!!! Don’t be mad at them because it seems as though they don’t understand. THAT doesn’t matter. What matters is they have made an effort. They are trying.!!!! You have a friend, but your depression is refusing to let you see them.

Well, I’m not so sure that the depression is refusing to let me see that I have a friend. I do agree that the person is ignorant. I’m not sure they’re trying to be supportive. Honestly, I thought I knew who my friends were, and now I am not sure. Like I had mentioned in the first post, these comments that I have received have been from *family*, not from friends. Most of the friends have said “I’m sorry… is there anything I can do?”, to which I reply, “Please pray for us”, or “I really don’t know.”

“When you got back from the (therapist, hospital, doctor), did they figure out what triggered your depression?”
Uggg, how totally insensitive…but again, stems from ignorace…and again…they didn’t push you away or close the door….they opened the next door by venturing forth with a question and showing concern for you. They are trying to be a friend, to be supportive, and to learn just exactly what it is you are going through. That’s compassion. That’s friendship.

Insensitive, you got it. Hurtful… more than words can say.

“I don’t know what to say….”
I’m so sorry this also hurts you!!! YOU KNOW it’s not meant to. This statement comes from the person who has also struggled…who knows that no matter what you say….it’s not going to make it better for the person. It’s like when I miscarried…..I’m not the only woman who has lost a child…..but only I felt what I felt……and others did not know how to ease that pain. There was NOTHING anyone could have said that would have made my day any better. I don’t know what to say is a 100% HONEST response. “I feel for you!! It means “I’m willing, but I don’t know what I can say to help you”

Like I said before… I can accept this statement. It’s like when I had my hysterectomy.. I’d rather no one say anything at all because they didn’t know what I was going through.

“You shouldn’t be depressed. There are people who have it worse than you.”

true true. still it bites that they were insensitive enough to de-value what it is you are feeling. I’ll not argue this one at all. I am on your side.

This statement was one that was tossed around at group therapy when I was at the hospital. Someone brought it up and we all jumped over that one like a dog on a bone. We were all quite peeved.

“How can someone like you be depressed?”
HEY!!! do you see—-CAN you see—-what this person sees when they look at you? What a sweet wonderful lady you are!!! They’re not trying to be uncaring or insensitive. They are searching for understanding, possibly even a bit fearfully, because if this can happen to YOU…….it might be them next. And let’s not argue over symantics of vocabulary. You know in your head what they meant. Please take it to heart.

Again, another one brought up at group therapy. No one has ever said this to me directly. And honestly, I *can’t* see the good in me. When I was in one session during hospitalization and we had to list three strengths about ourselves, I couldn’t think of one. The group leader had to list them for me.

“It will get better… really, it will.”

When you’re at the bottom…the only way is up. I can see thier point. Yes, it sounds like they’re just brushing you off, and many probably are—–but still— there’s a piece of truth there. Latch on to it, find the frayed end of the rope and hold on to the hope that is still there.

I’m trying to find the rope and not tie it around my neck.

Michelle, I will not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I WILL not let you keep sinking. Dang it baby girl. We love you. You have friends. You have support. We are here—-but honey, YOU have got to start climbing out—we can’t do it for you. We can only hold the rope, and point the signs to where the top of the pit is. We can only hold the lantern……..

I know you are hurting and i’m very worried about you…BUt there is nothing I can say that is going to make it better. Fight girl!!!! Don’t let the devil get to you. Don’t let the depression win. Start talking.

I have been fighting for a long time… since I was a kid. The depression is not going away. It just keeps getting worse. I still have urges to hurt myself, but I push them away because I don’t want to go back to the hospital.  I’m back to seeing my therapist every week (which we barely have the money for that… hmm… total hospitalization or weekly therapy= which is cheaper?)

My DH told me the other day that I am like a blank wall when he looks at me, that when he talks to me, I sound like Eeyore. He is angry at the depression, and he has given up on me. Do you have any idea how hurtful that is? Then when I have “friends” who have given up as well? Then when I have given up on myself? Sheesh…. who the hell *would* want me around?

As I’ve said to fellow bloggers, I’m TIRED of feeling empty and alone. Yes, I have closed myself off because that’s all I know to do because it hurts to reach out. Ironically, I know the only way I can get help is to reach out. It’s a deadly catch-22.


11 responses

  1. Depression is what seems to me to be a never ending battle, I rise, then I crash. I have no illusion of telling someone to “snap out of it” I suffer from depression too. I push people away, to protect them, to protect me, to not have to hurt anymore than I already do. Understanding is very limited, in my family, and I have lost friend because “I live in the past”. I can’t tell you I know what your going through, because we all suffer in different ways, but I just want you to know that I am here, and that I will listen, that is my best way of helping that I know of.

    PS. I am Wulfgar’s (Asylum Letters) wife.

  2. I am so incredibly sorry to hear that your DH isn’t being supportive of you during your time of need. I know I wouldn’t have been able to have made the kind of progress with my illness if my husband hadn’t been there for me every step of the way. And it is a lot easier to just give up and close yourself off when it gets like this, but that is the very last thing you should do, and I think deep down you know that.

    May I make a suggestion? Look on the NAMI website and see if they have Connection support group meetings in your area yet. I help to run one here in Omaha and let me tell you, it has made a world of difference for me.

    At any rate, please don’t give up. You’re a terrific person and you’ve got a lot to fight for. Let me know if there’s anything I can do from here to help.


  3. I have not been here to visit you in some time so I am so glad I found you again. I wholeheartedly hear everything you are saying. There are things which are going to help a person who suffers from depression and then there are things which make us want to crawl back under a rock and hide. Thank you so much for putting all this out there and sharing your experience.

    I am writing about depression on a site called Health Central. There is a lot of community support there. Please do stop by to check it out.

    I have just written an article about this very topic entitled, “Just Snap Out of It!” I am thinking that you will be able to relate. The best way to help ourselves and our friends is to educate.

    Hang in there and please do keep writing. Your voice is important!


  4. Powerful writing. One thing though, I’m sorry about DH. That is the last thing you need. But, remember- it’s his frustration and lack of being able to make you feel better. I try to reverse the roles in my mind when it comes to my hub, what if we were doing fine, had a relatively happy life, had kids, etc. And, one day my hub fell into a pit of depression. And, I think of all else that would come with that. If we feel lonely, I wonder how being cut out makes the men folk feel? All of a sudden, they found themselves taking responsibility for the kids, etc.

    I truly believe, if someone does not/ has not suffered this illness; they haven’t got a clue. They can try to understand at first, but the usually lose it when they become frustrated because they just don’t understand why you can’t “snap out of it”. It’s such a shitty thing.

    I just know because I suffer the same thing. Although, not to your extent and I’m thinking of you all the time Michelle. I just wish only good things for you. I’m glad you are working at this. I’m glad you are writing. Take care and i Hope to chat with you soon girl!

  5. I just got a chance to come back and look at this (and your previous) post. I know I’m late to the party so I’ll just say,: really well said and really well presented. You provide quite the forum for a lot of us to come and express our feelings, thank-you.

  6. ““How can someone like you be depressed?”
    HEY!!! do you see—-CAN you see—-what this person sees when they look at you? What a sweet wonderful lady you are!!!”

    I heard this from a PSYCHIATRIST so I can definitely identify on this end.

  7. reading this nearly made me cry
    “I’m TIRED of feeling empty and alone”
    this is exactly how i feel every single day

    it sucks so hard when the friends you care so much about and needed aren’t there when you need them the most, and you realise that they just didn’t care enough or would rather hang around with happier, normal people

    and then the friends who stick around that i have, well most of them don’t know because I’m scared to let anyone in after watching it break friendships, or they kind of brush me off if i get to the topic of how i feel

    on a better note though, i really like your writing, keep it up!

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