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How to talk to depressed people?


Well-Known Member
Mentioning things they have done well (things like "hey I saw this piece of art you drew/this story you wrote, and I really liked how you approached X") is generally pretty safe. Asking their advice or otherwise helping/letting them feel useful, as All the Fur said, can also be helpful.

In my personal experience, most depressed people (of which I am one) are fine with people not having a deep understanding of what depression is like. Depression sucks, and I don't particularly want anyone else to have that experience, yanno? Just try to accept what they say about the way they feel (you don't have to agree, but accepting that it feels that way to them - imagine sharing a room with someone who is always cold; if they tell you they're freezing, you should offer them a blanket or some hot cocoa (or possibly suggest checking them for fever), not tell them they can't be cold because it's 80 freaking degrees in here) and you'll have avoided one of the biggest sore spots. Also try to remember that "depression" does not equal "sad". I, at least, find it incredibly annoying and frustrating when people assume that I go around feeling actively sad all the time.

Some of the best descriptions I've seen of what depression feels like are Allie Brosh's posts: Adventures in Depression and Depression Part Two - especially the analogy with losing the wonder of childhood games really resonates with me. I can find myself picking up a game and after 10-15 minutes thinking "I'm supposed to enjoy this. Why do I not feel enjoyment?"


Your Friendly Neighborhood Dino Therapist
There's no one perfect or foolproof way to talk to someone who's dealing with depression, but I find it helps to lead with empathy. People want to be heard and understood, so helping someone to feel that way is one of the greatest gifts you can give them.

Advice has its place, but most people tend to jump the gun and give it before a person is ready and willing to truly absorb and use it.


Scottish Fold cat, disabled, and sneezing a lot.
As a long-term depression sufferer, I would say just talk to them how you'd talk to anyone else. Give them a chat every day or every other day if you're not too social. If they ask for advice, give it you're all; if they need assistance, try your best. Depression differs from person to person, and even from flare up to flare up/episode to episode. Some depression episodes, I would like to be left alone to recover in my own time, I'll still talk to my friends but I'd rather not talk about why I'm depressed. Some depression episodes, I need to vent and talk out my problems in order to get a better grasp of why I feel awful.

Depression also doesn't always have a reason, cause or trigger, a lot of people experience causeless depression where they feel utterly awful for no apparently reason/there is no problem or significant stress.

I have a lot of friends, close and acquaintances who suffer from mental health issues, and I, myself, have suffered and still suffer from things like depression, general and social anxiety, paranoia and dependant personality disorder, so if you need any specific advice feel free to hit me up.