1] “All in the mind lang ‘yan”
Absolutely. It’s all in the mind. Not to the extent that we can control our depressive episodes but to the extent that our minds are literally programmed to make us depressive. It is insulting when people say that it’s all in our mind, suggesting that we can overcome our depression if we choose to and if we have the will power to do so when it is exactly the opposite. The truth is that we could only wish that it could be that simple.
Having clinical depression is like being stuck in a hollow empty place, and it feels like there’s no getting out. Darkness hugs you and won’t let you go. We wake up in the morning without an ounce of will to live, we are sad for no reason, it sometimes takes us hours to get out of bed, we may appear happy when we’re out and about, but you don’t see us when we get home. It is a dark and painful place to be in. And telling us that it’s all in the mind, makes us very frustrated, because it will never be that simple.
2] “Baka naman nalulungkot ka lang.” (Maybe you’re just feeling sad.)
Many people mistake us for being just temporarily sad for a particular reason, that we’re not actually sick. The thing is that there is a difference between being sad because of something that happened in your life and being sad for no reason, every single day of your life.
It is hard for us when you make us feel that our struggle is not being recognized. We understand that our condition is hard to understand, but all the more that you should have compassion and not assume anything about what we’re going through. If we say that we are suffering from depression, we are, and that shouldn’t be questioned anymore.
3] “Surrender mo lang lahat ‘yan kay God.” (Just surrender everything to God.)
Don’t get me wrong, to those who believe in God, there is a certain comfort that this may bring, but only to an extent. Our frustration from our condition makes us unable to have faith. When you feel like life has screwed you over, and nothing is going your way, and you are so tired of living that way, telling us that we should surrender everything to God doesn’t help. We can only hold onto God for so long, but when life feels like you are no longer living, when there is no light at the end of the tunnel, telling us that God will save us over and over again makes us tired, and quite frankly, it makes us lose faith even more.
4] To someone in a suicidal state “Maawa ka naman sa pamilya mo, pagnawala ka pano sila.” (Think of your family. When you kill yourself, what will happen to them? this will cause them great pain.)
It’s true, when we choose to end our lives, we will cause our families so much pain. But the truth is, that when a person is in a suicidal state and has given up on life, saying this doesn’t help. When you’ve given up on life, you don’t think of the things that life has to offer anymore.
You can’t guilt trip a person to get them out of a suicidal condition. When a person is truly in that dark state, the only thing that matters to them is getting to finally rest, and end the pain. What you can do for a person who is in that state is just be there, make sure that they don’t leave. There will come a point that they will turn around, at some point they will want to live; but not in that moment, no matter what you say or do.
5] “Marami pang masmahirap ang pinagdadaanan kaysa sa’yo.” (There are a lot of other people experiencing worse things than you are.)
It will never be comforting for us when we hear this statement. No matter how little or how big a problem is, we shouldn’t pit our struggles against each other. Every individual deals with their struggles differently, individuals have different capacities when handling problems.
Telling us that our condition isn’t as grave as those of others makes us feel horrible, reducing our struggles, as if you know what we are going through. It’s as if you are implying that we should be thankful. Thankful for what? For the emptiness that takes over our lives? For breathing but not really living? For feeling so tired all of the time but unable to rest? For the darkness and pain that controls our lives everyday? For all the emotional and physical torture we go through?
Your curiosity is understandable, your eagerness to help is commendable, but please be careful with words, as sometimes they hurt more than they help. The best thing you can do for someone who is struggling with depression is just to make sure that they know that you will be there no matter what, but give them enough space to let them be. Never pretend that you know what they’re going through when you don’t. Just be there, support them, inform yourself about their condition and help them seek help to recover.
(Featured Photo Not Mine)