Top Five Worst Comments Christians Make to Depressed Friends

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I must confess something to you. It may come as a shock in light of my 172 posts over the past 14 months of blogging. My husband would deny it, but it’s the truth: Sometimes I am at a loss for words.

I’ll grant you, it’s not often, but I came across a list on line a year that left me speechless for some time. It was a compilation of actual quotes from loved ones and well meaning folks toward their depressed friend or family member. One quote literally referred to finding a prostitute as a solution! I just sat there thinking….

what…………..in………the…………world??????

So after a year of not having anything to say, I now feel compelled to speak on behalf of thousands of wonderful people who battle depression. I see them in my office and I watch them try so hard to figure out why, oh why can’t they just feel/be/get better!? Often one of the greatest sources of discouragement comes from church friends and family members who believe it’s “wrong” to be depressed or that their loved one needs to “get over it.” And can I just say, I have come to assume that usually people do the wrong thing for the right reason. So, my guess is many of these comments were well intended, but poorly expressed. Some reflect a general lack of understanding about depression. Some, a few, are simply hateful.

I am not going to attempt to explain all that factors into depression, as that would be another blog for another day. But I do want to share five actual statements off the list I read that are not helpful, and offer some alternatives.

1. “You’d be fine if you had more faith” & “Watch the Passion of the Christ- that should fix you” The implication in both of these is struggling with depression is an indication of spiritual failure. The truth is depression can be (and often is) caused by physical factors, over which the individual has no control. Just as it is not a sin or failure to have a pancreas that stops producing insulin culminating in diabetes, it is not a failure to have your brain stop producing serotonin, nor-epinephrine or dopemine. Your brain is an organ like any other in your body and in this broken world often our bodies do not work as they were ideally designed. Additionally, we live through trauma and dysfunction in this world that can also cause the brain to quit functioning properly. Neither of these scenarios are necessarily in the control of the depressed person.

Helpful alternative: How can I pray for you? or I am praying for you.

2. “Come on, snap out of it!” or “Just go shopping to treat yourself” The implication is there is a fast and simple fix the person is just not utilizing. The truth is for most depressed people it will take time and a combination of medical, emotional and spiritual interventions to fully recover or manage their depression. We’d all like there to be a simple solution, but often that desire comes from a lack of willingness to suffer with someone for the long haul.

Helpful alternative: How can I be a support to you? 

3. “I’m disappointed to hear that” or “For God’s sake, there was no such thing as depression in my day” The implication is the depressed person should feel ashamed of themselves for their struggle. The truth is you can’t shame someone into feeling well. People are where they are, and while you may not like it, shaming them will not help them because they typically feel like a failure already. One of the most common conversations I have with depressed Christians is about their shame over their struggle. That’s not to say the person may not have contributed to their own depression through choices or sin, just as a diabetic may not be following their doctor’s eating plan. But YOU are in no position to make that judgement. Those realizations must come from God if they are needed.

Helpful alternative: I have struggles and brokenness too! God came to us both in our weaknesses and loves us no matter what. 

4. “We were talking about your depression at small group the other day…” You may as well say, Hey- we all sit around gossiping about you and wondering what’s wrong with you! First of all, clearly, don’t gossip. But secondly, be aware that in many circles in the church, Christians feel like they have a second head if they begin to talk about their depression. People get awkward about it. The last thing they need is the feeling that other people are talking about them behind their back.

Helpful alternative: um, how about we just agree to quit talking about people?

5. “Why don’t you just end it all and put us out of this misery?” or “Go ahead and kill yourself instead of always threatening to!” I can only assume these statements were made out of anger or some misguided attempt to prove to the person they really don’t want to kill themselves. Either way this is dangerous at best and hateful at worst. Never, never tell a depressed person their life is not worth living (they already think it) Never imply your life would be better off without them around (they already believe it). Always speak hope, always speak love.

Helpful alternative: I love you, I care about you even if it’s hard to believe that right now. God loves you and cares about you even if you can’t feel it right now.

If you, or a loved one, struggle with depression and are looking for a place to turn, may I recommend a few resources:

Branches Counseling Center Murfreesboro,TN www.branchescounselingcenter.com

Celebrate Recovery  http://www.celebraterecovery.com

105 thoughts on “Top Five Worst Comments Christians Make to Depressed Friends

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I found myself not talking to people about my depression because everyone offers advice on how to fix it. I’m following my doctors advice, I don’t need people to tell me I’d get better if I just drank more water, ate cashews, drank green tea, etc….

  2. In reading your article, and it is very good, I dislike a LOT the expression..if you had more faith…I believe that has depressed more people and they have taken the path away from Christ…..So far in my life I do not suffer from depression, however I know it is very real in some peoples lives….As a Christian we need to love and listen..not give advice….thanks…

    1. How about commending them for not giving up and being able to still keep seeking their faith in such a time when it is easiest to give up on it. As long as they still have faith. God bless and love to all of you.

  3. oh, yes, this. So many things were said to me and my daughter when she was suffering from depression and suicidal. All i wanted was a simple- I’m here for you, and I’m praying for you- and I never got that. In fact, I was abandoned by most of my “friends”. Thank God I made some new, real friends but I was alone for months struggling by myself. Now, I (and my daughter) work hard to be there for others who deal with depression and bullying. One thing I also heard was “what does she have to be depressed about? She doesn’t know how good she has it!” and my daughter answered that with a post about how Depression doesn’t discriminate. It’s true. Thanks for this post.

    1. My daughter was recently diagnosed with depression and ADD, she is 24. Her best friend said. to her, you are always smiling, how can you be depressed? I was saddened by her lack of understanding.

    2. I am going thru it right now – I do have a good life and great children doing great things!!! I have no reason to feel this way but I do and I can’t control it. I’ve considered checking out but my kids are my life so why me!!!! I am working with a great doctor that cannot figure things out for me. Yes, I have prayed, prayed, prayed while crying uncontrollable; I’ve even call suiside hotlines Still here, still suffering and wanting to go to sleep tonight with a better day tomorrow. Just doesn’t seem to happen.

      1. Do not give up!
        There are many different medicines and therapies out there. I have been on many different meds. Some work for a while then don’t . All seem to have side effects so work closely with your team including Pharmacist. Be careful who you share with, words can hurt you and often others don’t understand . I found it better to talk to professionals as family / friends can get burned out.
        I also use journaling as a tool to “see” things clearer.
        58 yo fixing to be 59 yo. I made a verbal committment to call Drs. For any “bad thoughts of hurting myself”. I am worth the energy I put into working with my health care team . I am a Christian.

  4. Thank you for speaking out. I, too, have heard these and more hurtful comments from those we should be able to rely on to lift us up, intercede to the Father for us, and love us as He loves us. Wise words.

  5. Thank you for this piece. I have battled depression over the years. God is my number one strength that keeps the demons at bay. That is what I call the dark hopelessness that takes over. People can add to the negativity that goes along with a bout of depression. My recommendation for people I know who fight it is seek help. It is there and it works. Seek God even if he seems so far away. There is a light at the end if that dark tunnel.

  6. Goodness… Have people really lost their minds to say these things??? Not only are they ride comments but how will any of those help someone who is depressed, sad, or even worse really contemplating suicide. That could be the last straw that broke the camels back & really send them deeper into depression. I have always been taught if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all. Sometimes more people need to heed to this thought. Vicious comments… Really are we children that we can’t think of people feelings or needs. Then to say your “Christian” & act that way. Then we wonder why society calls Christians hypocrites. We are not suppose to judge others but it easy to do so. That’s when you need to stop & think about what your going to say before speaking. Think about how you would feel if someone approached you with your comments. Are they with saying??? Could you be hurt by them& close up more?? Let’s hope no one really users those & if they have won’t any more.

    1. I can add to this list… WHAT KIND OF MINISTER ARE YOU TO SUFFER FROM SUCH AN UN-GODLY AND SINFUL THING? DON’T YOU KNOW GOD DID NOT PUT THIS DEPRESSION ON YOU AND YOU ARE LETTING THE DEVIL RULE? well Yes I know God did not put it on me and yes I know it is the enemy BUT as the article states NOT ALL DEPRESSION IS PURELY MENTAL mine stems from some health issues that I did not cause my self and the death of my only child so PLEASE CUT YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY SOME SLACK IN THIS AREA!!!

  7. People can be so harsh and non-understanding!!!! I have dealt with depression myself..through much prayer, loved ones and sheer determination not to give up, I am still here..

    1. Hypocrites come in many shapes and sizes ! Lol . Reading does not cure or heal of afflictions. . Walking in Faith, believing when you can’t see or feel a difference is the way to go for me .

      1. God uses all kinds of people and things like friends, church, prayers, others to help us during difficult times. God might use just a smile from someone or a kind word to plant the seed of hope into someone’
        s life.

  8. Actually there are more and some worse than some of these. Some of these are just sayings. What about those who use actual scripture or the spiritual answer. What gives me comfort is scripture says Jesus was a man of great sorrow and great joy. So was he bi-polar? (That last part was a joke meaning no disrespect to Jesus) he has always been the only answer for me. I am not against doctors medicines etc. But when those things make me worse instead of better what’s the answer then? Only The Lord has ever healed and delivered me from it. Disclaimer I am not bi-polar or have ever been diagnosed with it. But I have family members who do. Jeremiah was a weeping prophet so would he be on meds today? Look at Job? I just look at different people in the bible and ask questions about how we deal with things in modern day medicine and mans answers or beliefs. I love The Lord he is my healer. Pray for those with depression. Ask them how you can help? Love them be patient give grace and mercy. I am thankful that The Lord is long suffering. Not a fruit we see much in Christians. I include myself in that statement.

    1. Jennifer Arnold, Thank you sooooo much.I have been praying (screaming) in my depression to see how Christ could show, that He related in his human experience, to this uncontrollable (and seemingly unwarranted) sadness I an aching my way through. I cried out just this morning “Lord SHOW ME the example where there is hope to get through this!” Now I have a place to start! Thank you so so so much!

  9. All you said but unfortunately true. My mother died of suicide and my son took his life five years ago at the age of 21. Jacob was funny, passionate about life and creative. We did not see it coming. One thing that bothers me, is people questioning what went wrong in our family. Questioning our parenting. People need to understand in many cases depression can be genetic and have a chemical component. The more people learn about depression and mental illness we will have less stigma and ignorance and have more compassion and understanding about this painful and debilitating illness.

    1. If people don’t understand depression they need to keep their mouth closed. It is a real sickness. I know I suffer from depression and take medicine every day for it. I know from experience about suicide. My son was 17 years old and committed suicide because he thought his life wasn’t worth living. He was sick and no one understands unless you have been there and lived it. They need your prayers not your stupid advise when you don’t know what you are talking about. My son had a chemical imbalance.

  10. Have had #5 used on me, by someone I love, very much. It hurts, more than anything. All it does, is help the feeling get bigger and bigger.

  11. Reblogged this on Nisi Dominus Frusta and commented:
    I have heard a couple of these dumb comments. The thing is that people don’t know what a depressed person is going through, what they are thinking, how they feel. A person with mental illness has so much internal damage, it’s like the disease is carried inside a box, everywhere they go. They seem fine, but the sickness is buried.

    To be told all these comments is like to be stabbed in the heart. And those who talk like this lack compassion and love.

  12. Some of the most hateful comments come from those who profess to being Christian, how sad. I too struggled with depression when young and had some of these things said to me and I know how hurtful they were.

  13. I’ve had #1-4 said to me personally… Another “fav.” Is:”Well, you LOOK fine, we all have problems.”
    #keepsheddinglight

  14. Well said. This is a great start to helping those of us that struggle with this awful disorder. Unfortunately, even though I religiously take my meds for my bipolar, I still go through major depressed periods. And I do believe that God can and will heal me, and I pray for it all the time, but as with all things, healing too must come in His time. It can be extremely discouraging at times but I continue to believe He has a purpose for me in whatever health I am in. My job is to live every day to the best of my ability, to listen to Him always, to act when He says act, to pray without ceasing, and to praise and worship Him from a humble and sincere heart.

  15. Wow i have heard of people saying things like that,i have family fighting depression its hard they need love not stupidity,thank u for you words of wisdom

  16. Thank you for this sensitive post! Depression related to OCD slammed me out of nowhere about two years ago, at age 42, and for three months I was in darkness. It wasn’t sin-related, since it hit me in peak spiritual and outwardly physical condition. I denied my wife’s theory that it was a brain problem, but once I finally went to my family doctor and got on an SSRI, the depression and OCD both cleared up in a matter of months, and I have never been happier in my life. Praise the Lord! I thank God for a discerning wife and four ministerial friends, all of which lovingly supported my decision to begin medication. I hate it that this malady is so misunderstood, especially in Christian circles, ironically, but the common denominator for all four of those ministerial friend was mental problems among their relatives. Amazing how understanding you become when it hits close to home. Please keep encouraging the depressed and those with OCD that there is hope in Christ and that there are medical helps they can safely avail themselves of. To God be the glory, DMJ

  17. Quoting scriptures, Not good for a depressed person. A depressed Christian most likely knows the scriptures but can’t grasp them at this time. A depressed non Christian can be turned away from the Lord and Christianity by having scriptures quoted to them at the time.

  18. I had a friend tell me to just listen to worship music and dance with it to feel better. My mom suggested lots of religious books and also blame my husband. The one person who took care of me during the darkest time.

    The friend who said the first statement has since gone through depression and been hurt by similar comments. Don’t judge when you have no clue.

    I have also made the mistake of trying to help others with the things that helped me. Instead of being helpful it can come across as trite or like you know everything.

    If we treated people with depression like we sis when they had pneumonia we may be more loving. Take a meal, send a card, simply sit with the person and show you care. Don’t try to have answers, just keep loving.

  19. I suffered for years with chronic depression and I NEVER had anyone Christian or non Christian say anything like this to me. Believe me, I reached out to many to seek help and never, ever once came into contact with anything like what you have listed in this post. I thank God for His grace, mercy and super natural healing power!

  20. During my years struggling with depression, I appreciated those that encouraged me to stay in God’s Word. Getting closer to God can never hurt you. Even if someone did not understand that a quick shopping trip wouldn’t pull me out of the dumps, the suggestion was taken in the spirit it was given. They wanted to help a friend they see hurting. I couldn’t condemn them for not understanding everything. If I overlook their imperfections, they might not notice all of mine.

  21. Thank you for writing this. I have a panic disorder and sometimes still do struggle with depression/anxiety. I went through all the shame, (especially when I had to see a psychiatrist), hopelessness and fear that I’m sure all people with depression have suffered. And the well meaning friends……. I love them dearly. 🙂
    I’m better now, taking care of myself, taking my meds and most days I feel pretty joyful. On the days that I don’t, I keep reminding myself that there is hope, I WILL feel better. At these times, I sit outside, I just feel closer to God that way, and thank Him for seeing me through these rough times. He is my strength.
    But and maybe I am nitpicking, in #3 you say: “That’s not to say that people may not have contributed to their own depression through choices or sin, just as a diabetic may have consumed too many sodas.” My oldest daughter has been a Type 1 diabetic since the age of 22. Type 1 diabetes is caused by the pancreas’s inability to produce insulin which is not caused by diet. Consuming any amount of sugar will not cause Type 1 diabetes. For some reason I felt the need to clear that up! Lol! Thank you, and God Bless you, vilene

    1. Thank you for your comment. And I am in agreement that what I thought was a good analogy was not very carefully thought through, so I have edited the post in that section. I certainly don’t want to add any false guilt to anyone’s struggles!

  22. Thank you for posting these comments. I was asking for prayer from a friend (whom I thought would not share my request) Unfortunately it was shared in her prayer group. I was devastated that I had become the poster child for the prayer group. People coming up to me to tell me they were praying for my private prayer request. Even phone calls with messages on my answering machine where my children could hear. I pray that people will be more sensitive to the spirit of GOD, and to the person with whom they are talking to. Thank you again. Blessings on you.

  23. I just have a question, what should we do or say to someone when they are depressed? I usually say “is there anything I can do.” But what I’m learning is not even they know what they need. I’ve never dealt with depression so I’m at a loss as what to do. Thanks Gayla Kyle

    1. Asking if there is anything you can do, and just letting someone know you are there for them helps way more than you know. If they don’t know what they need, just let them know you are praying for them and that you are there whenever they need anything. Your empathy and compassion are a blessing. 🙂

    2. Go for a walk with her, meet her for coffee, LISTEN without trying to fix her, agree with her, take her to a funny movie, send her a card (but not a “cheesy” one), pray for her, pray with her, hug her.

  24. In a self confrontation class I took the text claimed that all depression is due to self focus. Of course this belief was echoed in the group meetings. Difficult class. I’m not sure if it helped or hurt me.

  25. Gigi, thank you for you comment. I declare! I believe Christians are blamed for every bad thing that is ever said or done in this world. How refreshing!.

  26. Thank you for your words of encouragement and alternative help for people we love that suffer from depression. I suffered from depression for many years and was suicidal (4 attempts and 1 of them would have ended my children’s lives as well). I turned to drugs to cope with getting through the day. I was the Secretary at church and no one had a clue that I was going through this. When I was arrested for possession of illegal substances I was shunned from the very people that professed God’s love. This only added to my shame & depression. By the grace of God I did get the support and help I needed. It will be 8 years this October that I have been drug free and for the past 5 years I have not even been on any type of antidepressants. God is faithful and loves me.
    Again, thank you for these words.

  27. I have had all these said to me when I was deeply depressed it also leaves me speechless. These are just enough to throw a person over the brink when they hear someone make statements like these.

  28. Thank you for posting this and having understanding of this disease as another fellow Christian. I personally never undersood how Christians could suffer from depression until I had suffered with mild depression myself. It’s something that many people don’t understand until they have been through it or watched a love one go through it. Just validating somebody who has it and acknowledging that what they are feeling is real and beyond their control is helpful too.

  29. I’ve heard things like this during my own battle with depression. My “personal favorite” though has to be what a leader in a church I used to go to told me: “All depression is sin. You have to confess it as sin and repent of it.” Definitely didn’t help.

  30. I have stuggled with depression for at least 20 years. I have been on meds for at least half that time. I just got done weaning myself off Zoloft due to all the side affects and it has been a struggle every single day because I keep finding myself going back to that dark place that I struggle within. I honestly have a wonderful life but people assume when you say you deal with depression that things must be terrible at home or other places in your life. IT IS A TRUE SICKNESS!!! I use to be embarassed to admit this to people but now I have no problem openly saying it. I figure if people want to judge me or assume things that arent true then I truly dont need them in my life and shame on them for judging. For those of you who have never had to deal with this terrible illness please be thankful because it is ugly! Instead be passionate, caring & understanding of the deep dark things others are going through. Pray for them & love them

  31. My husband naively told me many times, “You don’t have to feel that way” when I was in my black velvet box of depression. It was as if he thought I chose to be depressed and could just stop by choosing to do so. Over time, I got help and he learned about the facts of depression. He has apologized sincerely for his thoughtless comments.

  32. You so hit it right with some of your comments! I have been in counseling many times but stop going when it feels as though we are getting no place any longer. Now I just go through life with not much emotion attached to me. I only talk about my feelings when I have to let some feelings out or I may lose it, but I pretty much keep most of my feelings inside. I am happy when I see my children and grandchildren, I am happy with my husband and home, but me-I feel dead inside!!! I love The Lord Jesus, if it were not for Him I would not be here today, but even He seems to be out of my reach! I know God never leaves us, but us Him, but I just don’t feel anything anymore!! What has happened to me? I never thought this is how I would end up spending my senior years. No energy to do anything but sit and watch TV and I’m so not liking my life!!!

    1. Dear Marcia, Thank you for sharing. I have dealt with depression for years. I have felt and thought some of the thoughts you have expressed. I just want you to know you are not alone.

  33. Reblogged this on ThruELLY and commented:
    Thank you to those who faithfully pray for me.

    Whether I know you or not, whether I speak to you regularly or not, whether you believe in God or not. I will pray for you, because I believe that God is with us EVEN in the midst of the storm.

  34. Thank you! I have been battling depression for over a year now. Side effect of a Lupus and Fibromyalgia. I have had really hateful things said to me by “loving Christians”. I will be forwarding this to others as well. I am not perfect in my walk but I know Christ loves me and I him. I’m
    Not depressed from demonic forces. That was my favorite!

  35. Um…the people who said these things may profess to be Christians, but they weren’t in a Christian attitude at all when these things came out of their mouths.

  36. Or how about when a good Christian friend who knows about your battle with depression looks right at you in a group setting and says, “I am too blessed to be stressed.” That makes me want to gnash my teeth .

  37. I have bipolar disorder and so, of course, depression is frequently a struggle. I am also a Christian and it astounds me that other Christians don’t acknowledge characters from the Bible such as Job who suffered, obviously, from depression for a LOOOONNNNGG time. I don’t think you can honestly READ the Bible and find one single character in it that doesn’t experience emotional suffering even after experiencing Jesus. God can’t teach or touch people in this world through perfectly happy people that never experience ailments of some sort: Paul was afflicted, Job was, Peter had anger issues, David in all likelihood was frequently NOT HAPPY either. Jesus/God is an anchor, not always with a cure for what ever reason——–we are walking,living , breathing parables—–and parables aren’t always happy—–parables are by definition illustrations of life lessons.

    1. Yes and AMEN! I agree! The Lord once told me are you better than those you read about in the bible? No one talks about the afflictions even in the NT all they wanna talk about is prosperity and Jesus loves you and abundant life. Have faith. I do believe in having faith and miracles and healing and deliverance. There is an enemy and there is warfare. But my depression was my Goliath. Some battles are daily though. And then some are lifelong. Jesus said trials and tribulations not bed of roses without thorns or bowls of cherries without pits. 😉 but to cheer up for He has overcome the world.

  38. Thank you for explaining this so simply and so clearly! I have heard similar comments off and on since high school. My ‘”black”days started in grade school but I wasn’t diagnosed and offered medication until my early 30’s. Suicide is not and has never been an option for me…God put me here for a reason. I am not willing to sell him short. Not everyone is able to control the urge. I even argued with one of my own Pastor’s over the “not enough faith” thing after listening to a sermon on it.
    Unless you have experienced it, you just Don’t Get It..how black things can seem to be. This is Not an illness anyone would willingly ask to get. Mine is genetic complicated by difficult circumstances and complicated by health issues. If you haven’t experienced it, please don’t judge those of us who live with it.
    Thank you for your words of wisdom.

  39. Don’t know WHAT Christians, or WHAT people for that matter, youuu hang around, but I’ve never heard such garbage in my lifeee. That’s the dumbest stuff I’ve ever heard. Idk even know why people USE the word Christian. It MEANS Christ-like, which nooooo one is. Saved by the Grace of God is all we can be. Doesn’t mean being an idiot goes away, you are just forgiven with mercy and grace. So if somebody gives you anyyyyy of these statements about your depression, then you are just talking to an idiot. Find somebody else to talk to.

  40. I was diagnosed 3 years ago with complex PTSD stemming from events that transpired during multiple Middle East deployments. Still working with the VA to find the right combination of medicines. Me and Missi, my wife of 25 years, have endured a lot of hardships during our marriage, but my depression, anxiety, rage, nightmares, etc. has been very challenging to say the least. In the beginning, she said and did all the wrong things, it was up to me to tell her what I was thinking and how she could help. She did a lot of research on the subject and bought a lot of books for us to read. We’ve come to the point now where we are able to poke fun at some of the things I said and did. Through all the treatments and medicines, laughter is still the best medicine for us. I love her dearly for that.

    1. DARRIN:

      That’s wonderful!

      I was depressed for over a year after our sons were both diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. Normally, I am a very positive and optimistic person but the diagnosis really shook me. What got me through it was finding my ability to laugh again. I don’t mean random laughter, I mean laughing at my mistakes as a parent, laughing at the boys’ autism- related antics and laughing with my husband. One day I woke up and realized that God had been there for me the whole time I was angry and depressed and had helped me through it. This, obviously, isn’t a cure-all for everyone but I’m so happy that you and your wife persevered and can laugh again.

      Depression is very real and we have to be sensitive to it as Christian. When the boys were first diagnosed, the most awkward and irritating comments came from fellow Christians!

  41. Comments can be so hurtful! In 2007 my husbands job transferred us far away from where I called home. Didn’t know many people. We tried to belong to a small church. My oldest son moved back to where we came from when he graduated, then a month later my mother who raised me died. I went to my pastor grieving so deeply that I wanted to end my life and he told me “if you would excersise and lose weight, you would feel better”! I put weight on from my depression! That shocked me and hurt me to the bone! I still remember that comment!

    1. That was a horrible thing that he said to you. One thing that I’ve discovered, is that all people respond to things out of their own junk. Maybe he didn’t have Support when he was younger, we don’t know. I hope that you have a church family now that shows Godly love and support. Blessings to you.

  42. Many years ago when I was in high school, a friend of mine was very depressed and he told a girl he was close to in our social circle. She told him that was stupid and asked how he could possibly be depressed when he had her as a friend and that just knowing her should brighten his whole life. She meant it as a joke so he stopped trying to reach out because she didnt take him seriously. About a month later, he sent her a text message asking for help. He was in a bad way and needed someone to talk him down. In this conversation, he explained in detail how he was going to kill himself. She told him he shouldn’t do that because it’s stupid and a sin and whatever and she didn’t tell anyone. She could’ve told the school counselors, the police, his parents, his friends, anyone, but she didn’t. She just told him it was stupid and joked about it. A week later, he killed himself, exactly the way he had told her he would. No one expected it except this girl and she told people about it about a month after his death when there was an investigation. Turns out, his step dad had been abusing him since he was 8. In his suicide note, he said he killed himself to get attention to save his little brother from the same abuse he suffered because no one would listen when he tried to talk about it. It was a few weeks before his brother’s 8th birthday. If someone had LISTENED to him… if someone had taken the TIME to try to help him, he wouldn’t have felt so sad and so helpless that he wanted to kill himself just to bring attention to what was happening. He tried MORE THAN ONCE to reach out and he was LAUGHED AT. Our society doesnt take depression seriously. We’ve been desensitized by all these “emo” kids who cut themselves for fashion, using their scars as “body art” as if it were a tattoo. Especially in the southern United States, depression in men is looked down upon because Southern men are supposed to be “manly” and “strong” and depression is considered a weakness. I pray that this tragedy with Robin Williams will create genuine conversation about the reality and danger of depression and that people will realize that it is REAL and that even if they personally dont struggle with it, someone they know probably does. It’s our responsibility as humans, and especially as Christians, to offer love, prayer, and support to those who struggle.

  43. I have made so many wrong choices in life and to thos day still regret them. Unfortunately (or fortunately!) God decided he has a better plan for me and is not ready for me at his heavenly table. While I feel the suicides of rich and famous are spoken of too often; I certainly do not mean to make light of their internal struggles and sadness. God help me to say the right words to comfort and console not control. Thank you for giving me more time in this world to get my affairs in order. Amen

  44. Psalm 13. Read it. It was my scripture during my 7 years. I wanted to add that when I was depressed and in HS I told a friend and she said if you were really going to kill yourself you would not do it that way but this way. She was young. I know she didn’t know what she was saying. I must admit though meds did not help but made it worse. It was my Goliath but it was defeated through the Lords help and the Holy Spirit. But it was dark and deep. It lasted 7 years. I cried out to my Lord and he saved me. I am sorry so many of you are experiencing this now. But don’t give up keep fighting! It’s worth it! Jesus healed many even some afflicted with mental issues and I hope and pray to see someday healing in the mental realm not just physical. It is one of my passions. I truly believe it is spiritual warfare. But do it in cooperation with Drs and meds. My indicator was when different meds didn’t work but made me worse. Then I knew only The Lord could deliver and save me. Which is why I love the Psalms! Or the story of Elijah hiding in a cave after defeating Jezebel. Or of Job who lost it all. But I must admit I am tired too of the pat scriptural spiritual answers! It’s good to have friends who are just there for you. But it’s true it’s hard to find one that will stay just like when the disciples fell asleep on Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. That’s where I believe my Lord experienced deep depression. He is God’s son but he was also human. I can’t find it at the moment but I must believe that if Jesus came to earth to know what it’s like so he could share in our afflictions then he experienced many things but did not sin.

  45. I went to a seminar called “Overcoming Depression” at my church a few years ago. I was feeling depressed because I felt I kept failing God as a Christian. Well, the first thing the “counselor” told us was, “If you are depressed, you are sinning against God.” Great! The reason I am depressed is because I feel I can’t measure up to God’s expectations, and now she’s telling me the very act of being depressed is ANOTHER failure against God! I really couldn’t focus on much else she had to say after that. I figured there was no hope for me ever pleasing God. I left there more depressed than when I went in. I have come to understand that this is NOT an accurate Biblical assessment of depression. But please do not tell a Christian suffering with depression that she is sinning! Help him/her get the help they need without heaping judgment and condemnation upon them!

    1. Hi Carol, That comment was totally wrong. Depression is real, it is a chemical imbalance. It’s not for a pastor to tell someone that they are in sin, that is God’s job. His job is to lead you by example of God’s love for us. I’m so sorry for those hurtful words that were spoken to you.

  46. If we’re being totally honest, “I’m praying for you” isn’t all that helpful either, as it still implies a sort of failing or spiritual lack in the person being prayed for. It also sounds incredibly condescending. Those of us suffering with depression don’t need your prayer so much as we need your understanding. If you’re going to pray for us, do it, but don’t tell us you are.

  47. Most people who are depressed are ashamed for others to know their condition. Don’t make them feel worse by saying hurtful things. Better to keep your mouth shut and pray for them. Depression is worse than any surgery.

  48. That has got to be the most rediculous list I have ever seen. If you changed the list to things People say it would make sense. Tagging Christians with this shows you are just trying to get some hits to your website

  49. My ex was abusing me to the point where I wanted to die. I told the pastor and his response was if I wore make up and fixed my self up and looked good I would feel better and my husband would treat me better. Never forgot that.

    1. Hi Bonnie, I hope that you’re not still with that church family. Are you still with that abuser? I hope you were able to get for both a users. That pastor was wrong, so wrong. I’m so sorry that this happened to you. You are truly loved by God, He never meant for you to be hurt. You are loved.

  50. As a mental health professional I think this is a very good post. Depression is a medical condition resulting from chemical imbalance in the brain. Christians and non-Christians alike are victims of this horrible condition. There is help with counseling, medication and support from caring friends and family. Shaming people who seek help or admit to depression and other “problems” perpetuate the problem. If only the Christian community could show compassion and leave their judgement behind…

  51. Enjoyed this but I think the ones I have heard most often are, “God never gives us more than we can handle” and “Put it in His hands and let Him deal with it”. I am a Christian, but left religion because I find it gets in the way of Christianity. I attended church until a couple of years ago. The people at the church, who I thought were my friends, scattered like ‘roaches when the light comes on’ when my wife moved out. I posted some thoughts a year or so ago on a similar topic…Things Christians should not say at a viewing/funeral. Grief in any form is hard. It is a process one has to go through in their own way. When my brother lost his 10 yo daughter, the priest commented at the viewing, “Let’s celebrate that she is in a better place” to him and his wife. I do believe he thought that was somehow comforting, but no parent facing the sudden death of a child, is thinking celebration time! And to be fair, this tendency to say stupid things is not unique to Christians. For most people, trying to say words of comfort/support in most difficult situations does not come naturally. My best advice, let the person know you are there and ready to listen when they want to talk.

    1. Wow Patrick I can totally relate to your comment about Christians running like roaches when your wife left…my husband of 16 years left me for our youth minister’s wife and the church turned their backs on me and left me out in the cold to deal with this on my own…I ended up leaving the church and they tried to do church discipline on ME!! Well needless to say God is doing his own Church discipline on that Church, they are barely still going, dwindling in numbers…I am struggling with getting back into church, I have not lost my faith in God but I have lost my faith in “Christians”. Thank you for sharing your story…sometimes you feel like your alone out here. I am sorry that you or anyone else has had this experience…it is a betrayal from the very people that preach Love and Grace…but they are the worst at giving and showing it.

      1. Thanks Gloria, and yes, I relate to not losing faith in God, but in religion.church-goers who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. Most of my support has come not from ‘friends’ but from total strangers like yourself…and thankfully, they have been there encouraging me and praying for my boys as we make adjustments. The youth ministers wife? That takes some nerve on several levels – hang in there, better days ahead…or so they tell me. 😉

  52. My son died from injuries suffered in a car accident. He spent 6 months in ICU and I spent those 6 months sleeping on the ICU waiting room floor. I had bad depression after wards and somebody had the nerve to say “Remember you will see him in heaven”.

  53. When my grandma passed away i remember my mom was grieving still a month later. She was seeking comfort from a lady at church and the lady said “I can’t believe you are not over that by now.” It really tore my mom apart and a few weeks later my grandpa committed suicide. My mom did not feel like she could grieve the loss of both of her parents.

  54. My mother struggled with depression for years after her mother killed herself, she made Jesus Lord of her life and spent many hours a week helping others. She invested her life teaching about Christ’s love for us. She knew if her focus was on giving and caring for those in need it would help her mental state. I know people can be insensitive and judgemental as well as uninformed but in all my life I have never heard true loving Christians make any comments like those above.

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