How to do a mean thing while trying to be sweet. Or, how to NOT do that.

How to make someone who is trying to overcome depression feel worse and set them back a few steps in their struggle:

Tell them they are doing it wrong – You shouldn’t take medicine. Just choose happiness! Look at the positives in your life! How can you be sad when you have . . . (fill in the blank) Have you tried . . . ? (exercise, meditation, other – fill in the blank with things that yes they’ve probably tried.)

The most well-meaning, kind, sweet people in the world who would never hurt anyone purposely can make this mistake and hurt someone deeply while trying to help. I know this disorder (yes disorder, not bad mood) is near impossible for some people to understand. If I were someone who had never had it, I think I wouldn’t understand it either. (Sort of like I don’t understand how some people think cabbage is good or don’t like cheese – whaaat?) I have struggled to one degree or another with depression and anxiety all of my life – I remember being depressed, although I didn’t know the word yet – when I was just shy of 5 years old.

Please, if you know someone with depression (and/or anxiety – they often travel together), educate yourself before trying to give advice. Below are some links to helpful resources.

Article by Sylvia Kim

Make it OK. Stop Mental Illness Stigma.

The Hilarious World of Depression. The Hilarious World of Depression is a series of frank, moving, and, yes, funny conversations with people who have dealt with this disease, hosted by veteran humorist and public radio host John Moe.


About dahnajeen

I'm Donna Jean Hunter. I'm also Donna Cox - former married name and the name I share with my children and with my ex-husband, father of my children, and friend, David Cox. My 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Patterson told me I was a great writer and would be an author when I grew up. She always had me read my stories to the class, and even took me around to the other classrooms to have me read to them. I'm pretty sure the other kids all hated me that year. I don't care though. I love Mrs. Patterson. Of course she did not know then about the Internet and blogging, how much of what people read would no longer be on paper - and how much of it would be done for free! - when I grew up. I have had 10 or 12 of my pieces published in college literary journals, and for a while during college, I actually received pay for working as a technical writer. Then for a few years I taught writing to teenagers as a high school English teacher. But other than that, I can't say I'm a writer in the sense that it is what I do for a living. But I am a writer. I have been all my life and can’t see myself ever stopping whether anyone reads it or not. I hope someone enjoys some of it.
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