Dec 192017

1. “How can you be sad around the holidays?”

“Because I have depression, this time of year reminds me that I can’t tap into certain emotions like others can. The whole ‘warmth, joy and cheer’ thing sounds like something other people must feel, but not me because I still live in the same gray, dull existence. Sometimes, it’s as if holiday decorations are mocking me, making me hyperaware that I am missing something everyone has.”

What you could say instead: “It must be really difficult and lonely to feel so sad and isolated during the holidays. I’m here for you.”

2. “Stop being so antisocial.”

“There is nothing wrong with needing a few minutes of alone time.”

What you could say instead: “You’re welcome to join us but if you don’t feel up to it, I’ll check up on you in a bit.”

3. “Life is too short to be sad.”

“That goes for any time of the year. It’s not about being sad. It’s about having no control of how your brain functions. It’s living in constant torment.”

What you could say instead: “I’m always here for you.”

4. “Come on, you can have one drink.”

“Maybe I can’t drink due to my meds or my mental health issues? Just ask me what I’d like instead.”

What you could say instead: “I understand this is a hard time for you. If you’re not up to this that’s OK.”

5. “But it’s the most wonderful time of the year!”

“Most people that know me know my mother died two days before Halloween and my dad 10 days before Christmas two years apart. I lost both of them by the time I was 20… but you don’t get why the holidays always are when my most severe depression can hit?”

What you could say instead: “’You are so worth every second, and you’re the greatest gift that was given to me.’ Sometimes I just feel so useless and unwanted, all I want to know is I am wanted.”

6. “You’re not going to see your family? But family is everything.”

“Not all families create a sense of happiness or safety. For some people being in contact with their family is the worst thing for them. People need to understand and respect that.”

What you could say instead: “I don’t understand what you are going through, but if you talk to me about, I might be able to learn something from this so I can understand what you’re struggling with.”

7. “You’re such a Grinch.”

“It is very destructive to call people ‘negative,’ and name calling is a horrible way to treat people, such as calling people a ‘Grinch’ or a ‘Scrooge.’

What you could say instead: “I’m here for you. Tell me how I can help.”

8. “Are you going to eat all of that?”

“Holidays are really hard as a recovering anorexic. I am trying to convince myself to let myself enjoy all of the holiday food and the social aspect of eating together, and having anyone point out the amount of food on my plate sends me into a silent panic.”

What you could say instead: “We love you for who you are.”

9. “You have nothing to be so sad about.”

“I know that. That’s why guilt has such a huge place in my depression. I just wished they said nothing about it and acted like I’m fine for once, not like I’m a porcelain doll about to break.”

What you could say instead: “I’m sorry you’re having a difficult time right now. If company would help, we can plan something together that won’t be stressful for you.”