1. “Just think positively!”
Oh man, why didn’t we think of that before?! This is usually something said by someone who has no real understanding of depression, or how it works as a disease. Depression isn’t someone with a negative attitude. It’s literally a chemical imbalance in the brain. That would be like telling someone with a broken bone or diabetes to just “think good thoughts.”
2. “God only gives you what you can handle.”
Just, no. The only caveat being if you 100% know this person is religious and they find comfort in attributing things to a higher being. But most of the time? It just feels upsetting. As someone who is a weird agnostic-Jewish hybrid, a sentence like this would do nothing for me. Depression makes you feel like you CAN’T handle anything. And hearing that you *should* be able to might perpetuate further feelings of guilt and inadequacy.
3. “It’ll pass.”
This comes across as very demeaning and belittling. It sounds as if you’re saying, “This thing isn’t a big deal.” For some people, it doesn’t pass. For some people, it is a life long search for the right medication, therapist, combination of diet and exercise, etc. Assuming something is just temporary robs someone of their suffering’s validity
4. “Be grateful for what you have.”
Insensitive. You have no idea how often they struggle with that very concept. When you have depression, it can distort your thinking. You aren’t able to focus on the good things you have. And reminding someone of that can be incredibly painful.
5. “I know how you feel. I was so depressed when my fish died.”
In this case, you’re being sympathetic (which is a nice thought), but you’re trying to pass it off as empathy. Empathy is when you have the ability to experience the feelings of another person, like another person suffering from depression might be able to do. But being sad is not the same thing. And when you try to compare your moments of sadness (which we all have) to someone’s struggle with a debilitating and often life-long disease, it ends up feeling trivializing.