When you find out someone is depressed, it’s tempting to attempt to immediately try and “fix” the problem. However, until the depressed person has given you permission to be their therapist (as a friend or professional), the following responses are more likely to help.
The things that didn’t make me feel worse are words which 1) acknowledge my depression for what it is (No ‘it’s just a phase’) 2) give me permission to feel depressed (No ‘but why should you be sad?’)
Here is the list from contributors to a.s.d.:
1. “I love you!”
2. “I Care”
3. “You’re not alone in this”
4. “I’m not going to leave/abandon you”
5. “Do you want a hug?”
6. “I love you (if you mean it).”
7. “It will pass, we can ride it out together.”
8. “When all this is over, I’ll still be here (if you mean it) and so will you.”
9. “Don’t say anything, just hold my hand and listen while I cry.”
10. “All I want to do know is give you a hug and a shoulder to cry on..”
11. “Hey, you’re not crazy!”
12. “May the strength of the past reflect in your future.”
13. “God does not play dice with the universe.” – A. Einstein
14. “A miracle is simply a do-it-yourself project.” – S. Leek
15. “We are not primarily on earth to see through one another, but to see one another through” – (from someone’s sig)
16. “If the human brain were simple enough to understand, we’d be too simple to understand it.” – a codeveloper of Prozac, quoted from “Listening to Prozac”
17. “You have so many extraordinary gifts–how can you expect to live an ordinary life?” – from the movie “Little Women” (Marmee to Jo)
18. “I understand your pain and I empathize”
19. “I’m sorry you’re in so much pain. I am not going to leave you. I am going to take care of myself so you don’t need to worry that your pain might hurt me.”
20. “I listen to you talk about it, and I can’t imagine what it’s like for you. I just can’t imagine how hard it must be.”
21. “I can’t really fully understand what you are feeling, but I can offer my compassion.”
22. “You are important to me.”
23. “If you need a friend….. (and mean it)”
A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morganview all posts by: Nana Kwesi Coomson
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