DAY 22: WHAT NOT TO SAY WHEN A LOVED ONE IS DEPRESSED – part 1

November 22, 2014 at 3:48 PM 1 comment

WOMAN SIDE VIEW - michelle bengtson blog pic (1 of 2)

“The tongue can bring death or life…” Proverbs 18:21

The holiday season can be a tough time for those struggling with depression, and for those who love them. Today’s guest post is from a dear friend of mine, neuropsychologist Dr. Michelle Bengtson who writes extensively on the subject of depression. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for PART 2: “What to Say When a Loved One is Depressed.”

Scripture tells us that the words we speak can produce life or death. As a practicing psychologist, I find this to be true with respect to mental illness as well.

The words we speak over our loved ones can build them up or tear them down. Just because we haven’t experienced the same suffering, doesn’t mean that their suffering isn’t real. Yet what we say may communicate just that.

The words we speak can help another ease their suffering, or they can dig a pit just a little deeper. The words of Toby Mac’s song, “Speak Life” ring true. For all of us, some days are wonderful, while others bring so much despair we can hardly imagine. But the words that are spoken over us can magnify our current condition.

Here are a few things NOT to say to someone struggling with depression, anxiety, or some other mental illness:

-It’s all in your head.

-Snap out of it.

-This too shall pass.

-What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.

-You can always find someone worse off than you.

-I know how you feel (unless you really do know how they feel, and they know it)

These comments are derogatory to a person suffering from depression, anxiety, or other mental illness. You wouldn’t say these things to someone who has cancer, epilepsy, or paralysis.

By and large, these comments have become cliché in our society, and really reflect a lack of understanding, empathy, and acceptance. But even more importantly, they do not build one another up (“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up” 1 Thessalonians 5:11).

These comments can leave a person with mental illness feeling worthless, unvalidated, and minimized. Such comments communicate that their pain isn’t serious or isn’t important, or that you believe they choose to suffer. People who suffer from depression, anxiety or other mental illnesses already often struggle with self-esteem, guilt, and shame.

What can you say to speak life over a depressed one? If you’re unsure, read my post entitled “Things to Say to a Depressed Loved One.”

To read more practical insight and advice, be sure to follow Dr. Bengtson’s blog at www.Dr.MichelleBengtson.com. 

SPEAK LIFE - michelle bengtson blog pic (2 of 2)

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Entry filed under: Depression, Guest Blogger, NaBloPoMo. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

DAY 21: LEAVING THE HOUSE DAY 23: WHAT TO SAY WHEN A LOVED ONE IS DEPRESSED – part 2

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Bill  |  November 23, 2014 at 6:18 AM

    Mom & I read this together, Good advice here. Looking forward to today’s post.

    Like

    Reply

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KIM ALDRICH

Writer... speaker..."growing edge" seeker

ABOUT ME

Each new day offers a fresh opportunity to learn or languish, stagnate or grow. Like all sincere Christians, I face the ongoing challenge of finding THE GROWING EDGE.

FOLLOW KIM ON TWITTER!

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WORDS TO GROW BY

TEN WAYS TO LOVE

1. LISTEN without interrupting
(Proverbs 1:8)

2. SPEAK without accusing
(James 1:19)

3. GIVE without sparing
(Proverbs 21:26)

4. PRAY without ceasing
(Colossians 1:9)

5. ANSWER without arguing
(Proverbs 17:1)

6. SHARE without pretending
(Ephesians 4:15)

7. ENJOY without complaint
(Philippians 2:14)

8. TRUST without wavering
(I Corinthians 13:7)

9. FORGIVE without punishing
(Colossians 3:13)

10. PROMISE without forgetting
(Proverbs 13:12)

2014 NaBloPoMo!

NaBloPoMo November 2014

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