I spoke about this once before. Dealing with depression can be a lifelong battle. If not for you, then maybe someone you know and love. It’s a serious thing and often people are being discredited by someone calling them something like a pussy or over-sensitive. I can agree that sometimes people are hyper-sensitive sissies but you have to admit that there is such thing as life-crippling depression. Okay? Deal? Deal.
The counter argument to mental illness is that most of these mental illnesses are recently new. And follow me on this because I would agree with some of these people ranting about mental illness because modern medicine has recently had the luxury to spend more time on the brain and how it works thus giving titles to diseases that were once dismissed as witchcraft or demon possession. Yeah, there were no people with depression or ADHD in the 1600’s because those people were given full lobotomies, left to die of starvation in their beds or cooked in their front yards by a mob of angry villagers.
Humans are interesting creatures because we go against Darwinism, in a way. Obviously we have survived this long because we are very adaptable. It’s not the strongest that survive but the ones that are most willing (or able) to change. We harbor the weak. The strong protect the sickly and dying. We don’t just let people with down-syndrome get eaten by lions anymore. We don’t allow people with depression to commit suicide either. Strange, right? Those people who think ADHD or depression doesn’t exist are lucky because if they know someone who feels it first hand, they would be shamed into thinking differently.
When I spoke on this topic last, I linked this article at the bottom with a list of things to NOT say to someone with depression but I found the article after I published everything. I wanted to bring this up again because of how serious I feel the topic is. My issue is that I still don’t know how to tell if someone is severely depressed or just being a big fucking baby about something. I can only speak for myself and my feelings because pressure is all perspective. Morticia Addams says “Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.” So when you see that on some douche bag’s Facebook wall, know that they stole it from The Addams Family.
The deciding factor may be that I’m American and America has one of the lowest rates of depression throughout the world. About 1 in 10 Americans suffer from Depression, which to me is a gigantic number. 10% of the country? That’s a lot of people. However, the other 90% are the big giant blistering cunts.
Dr. Adam Kaplin gives advice on how to deal with people with depression: “It’s best not to say anything that is going to make them think that what they are dealing with is because of lack of coping skills, personal weakness or character flaws.” Now, that is an awesome way to generalize everything. You won’t be taking that big of a risk. If you are dealing with someone with an issue just don’t be a dick and tell them that they are a weak human incapable of dealing with pressure. So his advice will literally work on 100% of people in the world. So kudos to the doc for figuring that out. Then on further inquisition of that person’s problem you can decide if they are being a whiny-wooper or not.
Here is a list of things that you should not say to people with depression (Their list, my commentary):
- “I know how you feel”: Empathy is overrated. Unless you are going through the exact same situation, well then you really don’t know how they feel. The doctor suggests just validating someone. “I know this must be difficult for you” will work a lot better than “I know how you feel.” An even worse one to say to someone is “Oh yeah? How do you think I feel?” and then list all of your stupid problems that the person doesn’t care about to begin with. All you are doing is making the person go from sad to mad. Maybe the person you are talking to just needs an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on? Let the person vent and get some of the emotion out of their head. Let them say everything on their mind. Maybe they will be able to cheer up just by talking to someone. I mean, that is the point of therapy, right? Save the person $500 from seeing some jerk with a very expensive office who usually eats lunch through your session anyway.
- “Suck it up”: This is the tricky one. Stubbed your toe? Suck it up. Missed your favorite show? Suck it up. However, someone’s girlfriend breaks up with them or they get fired unexpectedly…they might literally feel like the world is ending. Maybe their car broke down and they don’t have enough money to fix it? Those are real problems. Adult problems. Don’t tell someone to suck it up if there is actual, healthy stress in their life. Don’t minimize their problems because if you are able to convince them that their problems are small, that will make them feel worse for feeling like shit over something small in the first place. For more information listen to Kevin Devine- Ballgame.
- “Cheer up”: This is like telling an insomniac “Did you try closing your eyes and putting your head on the pillow?” It doesn’t fucking work. Go to Plan B you ignorant dolt. I understand you are trying to tell someone to cheer up because that will make them feel better but do you know how to actually cheer someone up? By acting normal around them. Usually your friends, family or spouse are there for a reason. Most of the time it is because you have similar senses of humor. Maybe try treating them normally and having a funny conversation, tell some jokes, a funny story telling session or some other goofy act that will cheer the person up. Don’t try too hard because that won’t make the person feel better. Just act normal and be your cheery self. Lead by example, kiddo.
- “You have to be strong for your kids”: I don’t understand why this one is bad because I don’t have kids but I will put myself in the shoes of one with kids for a minute. Yikes. I hated my life there. Okay, reading what the doc has written makes sense to me. When you are saying this to someone, you are unconsciously implying that they are a bad parent. That will make them feel like a lump of shit because I think at least 85% of the world truly believes they are a good parent. I made that statistic up, but people do pride themselves on that junk. I gave some room for jerks, drunks and deadbeats on Maury.
- “It’s all in your head”: This is the dumbest thing in the world. Of course it is in my head. If I am stressed or depressed, it is literally coming from my head. Duh. Why the fuck would you say that? I know it’s in my head. I just can’t make it stop. It’s naturally happening. Say something else, stupid. Everything is all in your head because we think. A lot. That’s like saying “The internet is all in your computer.” It’s silly.
- “Just think, there are people out there who have it worse”: I hate the “starving people in Africa” bullshit. Just because there are starving people in Africa doesn’t mean I’m going to eat the dog-shit you serve me. Just because there are unemployed, disabled crackheads with AIDs and cancer for parents doesn’t mean I’m going to feel better over the fact that I fear success and failure while my girlfriend dumps me and I have never been good enough for my parents. You are just being dismissive and minimizing my issues. Of course the 3 hungry kids you have with no shoes and a foreclosure are bigger issues than the fact that my grandma died but honestly, fuck you. My problems are my problems and my problems are bigger in the Hughniverse than the Youniverse. See what I did there? I like that.
Well, that is the end of the list. I hope that helps when you are talking to someone who you know suffers from depression. I like talking about stuff like this openly because maybe it convinces someone who is ashamed of having it to speak up and advocate for themselves if they feel like they are being mistreated in conversations by minimizing assholes. Or maybe there are just ignorant people who still don’t treat these depressed individuals with kid-gloves and research. If I helped one person with this article, then I feel better about myself.