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What Not To Say To Someone Recovering From Depression

Written by O'Connor Professional Group
Published on March 26, 2018

Depression is one of the few mental health disorders which has been proven to go into remission. Various studies on the effects of evidence-based interventions like meditation, mindfulness, on depression have been successful in reducing the severity of depression symptoms into a scalable remission. Medically, depression could be considered a “relapsing and remitting” disorder. Depression can go into remission. However, there is such a thing as a depression “relapse”. Symptoms can come flaring up and disrupt someone’s life once more.

Recovery from depression is an ongoing initiative. Someone who is living in recovery from depression learns that they have to develop systems in all areas of life to support their depression. Their physical body needs to be taken care of through exercise, fitness, and self-care. Their mind needs to manage and regulate stress as effectively as possible, process their emotions, and stay focused in an active, productive way. Spiritually, they need to find a way to combat the hopelessness that depression can create. Thankfully through treatment, aftercare, and monitoring programs, someone recovering from depression can learn and implement such strategies ongoing. Still, there are difficult days, weeks, or months in depression recovery. If someone you know starts to struggle again, you want to be as encouraging and supportive as possible. Even if you are tired, frustrated, and feeling helpless to help someone you care about, you want to avoid saying statements like these:


  • You’re choosing to feel this way: Depression can be a manifested coping behavior, it is true. However, a fully developed diagnosis of depression is not a choice. Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain. When depression hits, it is possible that there were certain behavioral choices which led to it. In other cases, it is completely unexpected.
  • You just need to cheer up: Cheering up, surprisingly, is not the antidote to depression. People who are feeling depressed don’t want to feel depressed and wish they could just ‘cheer up’. Their brains are disabled in the ability to produce cheerful, pleasurable feelings.
  • You’re depressed because you’re not doing anything: Exercise is a proven intervention for depression. Feeling unmotivated, exhausted, and fatigued are common symptoms of depression. Breaking through mental and physical barriers to be active can be extremely difficult in depression.
  • How can you be depressed when things are going so great? Life circumstance do and do not play a part in depression. Unfortunately, even when life is going really well for someone in recovery from depression, their depression can still act up.
  • It’s probably just __________: Depression can act up when someone doesn’t maintain their recovery in nutrition, diet, exercise, or lifestyle. Those things don’t determine depression. Depression can be a complex illness to treat and live with. Though you may mean your best when you offer a solution, you minimize the complexity of depression and what living with it is like.


The O’Connor Professional Group offers concierge style custom services to support you and your loved one on the journey to recovery. From consultations to implementing treatment plans, our combined professional and personal experiences empower you to focus on recovery. Call us today for pricing and information: (617) 910-3940

What Not To Say To Someone Recovering From Depression

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