I have personally uttered the ignorant words “just stop being sad” to individuals I have come across with depression, including my mom. It is disappointing yet enlightening because it gives me personal experience to be able to inform others of why NOT to tell someone “just stop being sad” and how to help someone with depression.
“Don’t you think they have tried that?”. I have come across many clients (both in case work and therapy) whom claim their goal is to “stop being sad”; most of them have “tried everything to get better” but cannot manage to get out of bed due to depression making them a prisoner in their own home.
Depression episodes effect almost 7% of the population with less than that actually seeking treatment. Through medication, therapy, education and other supports those diagnosed with depression symptoms can get better or subside all together.
There are many reasons some individuals experience depression from trauma to death of a loved one. Some people experience depression due to their health, drugs or it is genetic. I say all of that to say that when you witness someone going through an episode it is not appropriate to belittle or ignore their symptoms.
What do these symptoms look like Jess? I am glad you asked! You may notice your friend:
- Losing interest in activities they once did
- having Insomnia/ Hypersomnia
- has a improper diet
- Lack of self-care (hygiene, cleanliness of home etc)
- No energy or lack of concentration
- Guilty thoughts
- Suicidal thoughts
*this is not a comprehensive list