When I was younger, I didn’t know how to express myself adequately. I was dating at the time and to try and get my point across on specific issues I would write out how I wanted to say it. I still can recall the shame that I would feel, fumbling over myself as I would grab the crumpled letters from my purse. My boyfriend at the time couldn’t understand why I couldn’t articulate face-to-face, and I wish that I could have told him everything, but I was embarrassed.
I was embarrassed because that’s how I was taught to feel. At this point in my life, I was still living with my Adoptive Father and Stepmother who didn’t know how to handle me. Relentlessly I was told that everything was in my mind, it’s my fault for feeling this way, and I needed to snap out of it. There were others things mentioned, too, but I won’t go into that now.
The guilt that I was feeling became more palpable as the years went on and my condition worsened. I realized that I was blaming myself every day for my anxiety and my atmosphere was not helping in any way. It wasn’t until I was living in another province that I started to heal as a person and grow.
Feeling invalid for all of those years through different people took a toll on me, so here’s a list of what not to say to a friend/family member who is experiencing depression or anxiety:
- It’s all in your mind
- But you have nothing even to worry about
- Stop complaining all the time
- I always knew you had a problem
- There is nothing even wrong with you
- Stop looking for attention
- You don’t look anxious or depressed
- You aren’t pushing yourself enough
- It sounds like you are going crazy
- You need to stop feeling sorry for yourself
- No one ever said life was fair
- You are always no negative
- It’s your fault
- Things aren’t that bad
- Things could be so much worse
- Just snap over it. Get over yourself
- You need to get out more