It is okay to say, “I don’t know what to say” by Felicia Johnson

depressionHave you ever wanted to help someone, but you didn’t know how? Sometimes, it is not easy to admit when we do not know what to say or what to do when someone we care about needs help. It’s especially hard to know what to say to someone who is depressed. What do you say to someone who is depressed? We find ourselves searching for the right words. All too often, we end up saying the wrong thing. In turn, nothing we say seems to help.

We’ve all experienced depression in some, way, shape, or form. Depression has hit us at some point in our lives. We may have decided to sleep in, instead of getting up and taking care of our responsibilities. We may have not bothered to eat for a day or two, or sometimes we may overeat. We may have even felt a severe lack of motivation to do anything.  Sometimes, depression can get the best of us and we may not even be aware of it.

Feeling depressed is a little more than just feeling “bummed out”. Depression literally drains a person of their energy, time, and spirit. Therefore, depression can make a person feel like their life is being sucked right out of their body. If someone that we love is experiencing depression, that person may reach out to us for help. Although, you may know how it feels to be depressed, you may not always know what to say to someone who is depressed.

Is that okay?

Yes. It is okay to say, “I don’t know what to say.” In a way, it may sound harsh. In reality, it is the truth. If you do not know what to say, it is best to admit it. We may mean well, but saying the wrong thing to someone with depression can result in that person feeling worse.

What is the wrong thing to say?

When you’re trying to help someone who is depressed, and you don’t know what to say, try to avoid reacting out of your own frustration. It is easy to become frustrated and tell someone who is depressed to stop feeling sad and to get over it, but depression is not that simple.

Let your loved one know that you care. That one thing is true even if you don’t know what else to say. Sometimes, a person who is experiencing depression simply needs to know that someone cares. You can help the person whom you care about feel better just by listening. If it seems like your loved one may need professional help with coping with depression, then you can suggest it after you have listened to them. Assure the person that you are there for them and that you care for their well being.

The truth is we do not always know what a person is going through. Therefore, a little more patience and kindness is needed. Always remember the Golden Rule.

Felicia-Johnson-AuthorFelicia Johnson is a youth advocate, mentor and behavioral health worker and author of HER. She works in Atlanta with the Highlands Institute and volunteers with Youth Villages Inner Harbour and Personality Disorder Awareness Network. Johnson was nominated for the Gutsy Gals Inspire Me Award of 2014 and Her has been nominated for Georgia Writer’s Association Author of The Year Award. If you are interesting in contacting her she is available for speaking engagements and content creation. Please follow Felicia at the following links: and Twitter@herthebook

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