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The worst thing you can say to someone with depression

Serena Ryder and CAMH work to educate people on the worst things someone who’s depressed can hear.

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Woman with her head in her hands
“Defeat Denial,” the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health‘s latest awareness campaign, focuses on the useless things we say to people with depression: “Snap out of it.” “Just get over it.” During her own bout, Serena Ryder heard them all. The worst one for her was “You’re so lucky.”

Hearing those words just caused her more pain: “It made me feel even worse about myself. How dare I? I’m not allowed to feel anything but grateful for what I’m doing. I get to follow my passion as a career. Get over it. Suck it up.” To be fair, she says, she herself didn’t understand what severe depression was before she had it, let alone what would help and what would hurt someone suffering with it. “I understand why most people have the ideas that they do — we don’t talk about it.”

Serena wants people to open up to each other about their experiences with depression — and for their loved ones to listen. “It’s something that people need to be a lot more gentle with. It’s not something with definitive answers. Everyone has their own path to healing. Often just accepting how a person feels in that moment is the best thing you can do to help.”