Helpful Things To Say (And Not) For Anyone Dealing With Depression Or Anxiety

Many people across the world suffer from depression or anxiety. But are we properly responding to others who deal with depression or anxiety? Here are some helpful responses you can use for anyone dealing with depression or anxiety.

Helpful Responses:

  1. How long have you been feeling like this?
  2. Have you spoken to anyone about this before?
  3. Something seems to be bothering you. Do you want to talk about it?
  4. Let’s go and have a cup of tea.
  5. I am concerned about you and want to be here for you.
  6. You haven’t been joining us lately at coffee break, are you okay?
  7. I am here to listen to you without any judgement.

The most important thing you can do to help is make sure you’re coming from a place of empathy, compassion. You want them to feel comfortable to open up about how they’re feeling. Expressing deep emotions makes people feel vulnerable. In order to maintain trust, you must make them feel supported without harsh judgements. It’s especially important to not attack or undermine someone while they’re in such a vulnerable space. Most people who deal with depression or anxiety feel as if no one listens or understands them. This is very painful because they feel they are alone in their pain and feelings. Always remember to be caring and sensitive to how you respond to others. The people who can make a huge difference in someone’s life will develop the skill to listen completely to the other person, be able to use empathy to understand how another person is feeling, and be able to show compassion and love in any advice or action steps. The human heart’s need to feel and be understood is a powerful way to create transformation in someone’s life.

Here are responses that shouldn’t be used when responding to anyone dealing with depression or anxiety.

Unhelpful Responses:

  1. You’ll get over it, you’ve just got to ignore it and get on with it.
  2. Here we go again. When are you going to get your life back in order, friend?
  3. Pull yourself together.
  4. I’d like to stop and talk, but I’ve got to go. I’ll give you a call later.
  5. PMS again, huh?
  6. You’re just having a “bad hair day.”
  7. You’re here to work and have a job to do and it’s time to get on with it.
  8. To be honest, I’ve never known you to be happy, you’re always miserable and only see the negative side in everything.
  9. You’ve just got to face reality, life is not a bed of roses.

These type of responses make another person shut down, feel uncomfortable to express what they’re truly feeling, and reassures the pain of feeling like no one understands them and are alone in that feeling. No one wants to suffer alone. These responses do not listen to the other person. And do not come from a place of empathy.

If you truly want to become a light in someone’s life or you truly want to help someone in your life dealing with depression or anxiety: Develop the skill to be unconditionally present and listen completely. Develop the skill to put yourself in their shoes and see it from their perspective. Develop how to use empathy and non-judgement when speaking with others. Learn how to create a safe comfortable space to allow others to open up and express their feelings. And remember to use proper helpful responses when communicating with anyone dealing with depression or anxiety.

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