At some point in our lives, we all commit this sin. We say something that we shouldn’t have said and regret it immediately, or we say something that we don’t think is offensive, but really is. Whatever the case maybe, be very careful when choosing your words wisely before they exit your mouth. I will give you an example: I’m 34 and I absolutely loathe (I mean LOATHE) it when people say that I have a baby face. Most people have well intentions but when most say it and I get offended every time. It’s fine to say it when you’re past 40 and up, but to say in a way that makes me feel like I’m a child, is rude. Too often in retail, someone will ask for the manager and here I come. When I introduce myself, customers will always say: “You’re the manager? I was looking for someone much older than you.” I will say: “How old do you think that I am?” And most will say around the age of 21 or thereabouts. So rude! Cue the picture above. Congratulations! You have just insulted me by putting your foot in your mouth. A 34-year-old woman with more than 16 years of experience in retail should never been viewed as a child just because she looks about 10 years younger than she is.
So with that being said, I’ve had people put their feet in their mouths way too many times throughout the course of my life. I’ll share some of my biggest no-nos when it comes to talking to someone living with depression.
- Don’t say “I understand what you’re going through”. (I have a pretty good BS detector and I can always spot a phony when people say this. It’s really simple, you don’t know what it’s like until it happens to you. Period. Case closed!)
- Don’t say “Well that’s life isn’t it.” (We all know that life isn’t fair, but to say that to someone is downright rude and very disrespectful.)
- Don’t say “It’s your fault”. (Mental illness is no one’s fault. Period. My depression and anxiety are hereditary. So how is it my fault????? And guess what: life has a lot of up and downs!)
- Don’t say “You’re crazy, nuts, cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs”. (This is so cruel to say that people shouldn’t even speak at all after this. I’ve gotten so mad at people for saying this about me or my mother. Some things are better left unsaid.)
- Don’t say “Mental hospitals are for crazy people only”. (Don’t refer to mental hospitals as “cuckoo’s nest” or any derogatory name like that. People go to rehab to help with their addictions. People go to mental hospitals to help treat their mental health issues. You go to the hospital when you are sick. So don’t even say this, period!)
- Don’t say “Why are you so sad? What do you have to be sad for?” (I’ve had this said by my own boss. Why do you have to be sad for? Hello, I suffer from depression. You don’t, do you? I can’t tell you how angry this makes me.)
Remember the old adage: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” Think about that very carefully when speaking to everyone! If you do say something for people with depression then say the following:
- Say this “I’m here for you” (Saying this with an open mind in a non-judgmental tone can be pretty beneficial for us to open up.)
- Say this “There’s always hope and help” (There is and there is light at the end of the tunnel. Always think positive. This helps me when someone says that to me in a sincere and genuine tone.)
- Say this “Let’s get through this together” (My family and friends along with co-workers are great at this! If I didn’t have a support system than I don’t know what I would do. The struggle is REAL everyday.)
- Say this “I’ll listen to you and support you” (Even co-workers aside from family and friends will listen to me with an open mind when I need to talk to someone. I’m pretty lucky because most people aren’t very understanding.)
- Say this “Everything will be OK because I care about you” (Again, you have no idea how this makes me feel when someone genuine and truly caring says that to me. It makes me feel like I can make it through another day.)