Mental health is a major topic that is not talked about enough. In recent years, the topic of mental health has increased with the death of celebrities such as Robin Williams. Depression can rear its ugly head in many ways. It isn’t always shown through sadness. If a friend says these phrases more often than not, then it may be a sign that they are depressed.
One of the simplest and most well-known phrases for those who are heartbroken, the phrase, “I’m OK” has many different connotations. Oftentimes, when a person responds with this phrase, it means that they do not want to bother someone with their problems and would rather keep all their troubling thoughts inside.
“I need to travel/I want to go someplace.”
When someone says this, it may mean that they are stuck inside their own depressing bubble and need a change of scenery to possibly uplift their spirits — even if it is for a few days.
“It’s all my fault.”
“Depression,” psychologist Deborah Serani says, “creates a pattern of negative thinking because the illness impairs frontal lobe functioning, where reasoning and judgment take place, so many depressed people feel guilty about the way they feel.” It is part of the whole all or nothing feeling that a depressed person might have. When someone blames themselves and is overly self-critical regarding a non-serious issue, check up on that friend. Self-blame can lead to feelings of guilt, being a burden, and can even lead to suicidal thinking according to Dr. Serani.
“I want to be alone.”
Those who have depression may want to just be alone and not want to feel like a burden to anyone they know. Their depression may help them to think that they are a burden and too difficult to take care of. There is a scientific reason why they strive to be alone. Serani states, “The neurobiology of depression reduces an enormous amount of brain activity, so a depressed person will likely stay out of stimulating experiences, preferring darker rooms, quiet settings, and being away from others.”
“It’s one of those days.”
This phrase can signal to other friends that today may not be their day because their thoughts and emotions are winning a mental battle. When this happens, make sure to be there for the friend and offer words of encouragement and help. Some phrases you can consider using (provided by Help Guide.org) are:
- “You’re not alone. I’m here for you during this tough time,”
- “Even if I’m not able to understand exactly how you feel, I care about you and want to help,”
- “You’re important to me. Your life is important to me.”
“What’s the point?“
A person with depression may want to end their life because depression makes everything black and white. It is incredibly difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel, let alone any light when you are depressed. Serani recommends, at this point, to get treatment for the person who is suffering from depression or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
“I don’t feel like it.”
If a person says, “I don’t feel like it,” or declines an activity they once found joyful, it may be a sign that they are depressed. Serani says, “The psycho-emotional aspects of depression reduce feelings of happiness and joy, so not wanting to do things and losing interest in activities that were meaningful are hallmark signs of depression.”
A few things you can do or say to help someone who has depression:
Sometimes, a person with depression may feel like there is nothing good about the world anymore. Although you may not understand entirely what they are feeling, here are few things that you can do or say (according to Jean Kim, M.D, a psychiatrist in Washington DC) to help someone who has depression know that they are not alone.
- “I’m here for you.”
- What can I do to help?”
- “I like [X/Y/Z] about you.”
- “There are ways to get through this difficult time.”
Simply letting them know that you are here for them and helping them to understand that they are not a burden on you or your life is a good start to helping someone with depression.