7 Things Not to Say to Someone Who's Depressed

These words can just make it worse
7 Things Not to Say to Someone Who's Depressed

"Depressed? Get over it, sister!"

If you had a friend who was suffering from depression, you most likely would not tell her to snap out of it. Yet so many of the well-meaning things we do say ring just as cruel in the ears of the one in ten Americans who have reported suffering from depression.

Today's Christian Woman asked those who've endured depression to let us know which "well-meaning" comments were the hardest to hear. We share them with you so that you'll be better equipped to care for those who suffer.

1. "Your sin has caused your suffering."

If "sin" includes all that misses the mark of God's gracious intentions for humanity, then yes, sin—in its most sweeping expression—is at the root of all manner of diseases and afflictions. This trite aphorism, however, more often serves to dismiss the biochemical reality of depression.

To someone who's hurting, this admonition sounds like telling a person who lives with paralysis of the legs to 'run faster.'
  • "Maybe you need to ask Jesus what sin has you captive." This is no doubt offered in the hopes of seeing someone who is hurting experience relief. Yet it also carries shame by suggesting that the sufferer is responsible for her emotional anguish.
  • "You aren't really trusting the Lord enough." To someone who's hurting, this admonition sounds like telling a person who lives with paralysis of the legs to "run faster." Most likely, the Christian person enduring depression is already trusting God as much as she is able.
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Margot Starbuck

Margot Starbuck, award-winning writer and speaker, is a graduate of Westmont College and Princeton Theological Seminary. A TCW regular contributor and columnist, Margot speaks regularly on discipleship, justice, and living love in the world God loves. Connect with Margot on Facebook, Twitter, or at MargotStarbuck.com.

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Compassion; Depression; Friendship; Listening; Love; Patience; Understanding
Today's Christian Woman, May Week 2, 2014
Posted May 14, 2014

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