Seven Phrases You Shouldn’t Say to a Depressed Mom (And Other Phrases You Should)

Talking about depression today continues to be a complicated issue. For people who have never suffered from it, it is very difficult to try to understand what a person with depression is experiencing and feeling. In the case of mothers, the issue is even more complex, since the fact that a mother is depressed usually surprises people .

If we know someone who is depressed, it may happen that in our attempts to help them, we say things that don’t really help the depressed person much. We share seven phrases that you should not say to a mother with depression and others that will help her .

mothers and depression

Many people are very surprised to learn that there are mothers who suffer from depression. Even most people who have not experienced it closely, consider it as a simple “emotional low” or sadness, one of the many myths about depression . But depression is more than that, depression is a real illness .

A few months ago, I went through a very strong depression . I don’t know when or how it started. After treating her in therapy, I found some reasons that could trigger it, but the reality is that in many cases, no tragic event is needed for this to happen. Depression does not differentiate age, sex, economic or educational level, if you have children or not, if you have a partner or not. It simply arrives and invades you like a black cloud that clouds your thoughts and confuses your mind in a terrible way.

Getting out of a depression is not easy, especially when you have reached the point of thinking about hurting yourself. But it is possible to do it, and a large part of this is the support we receive from the people around us . But they don’t always know what to say, or trying to help, they say phrases that don’t really help much or can even make the person with depression feel worse.

Phrases not to say to a mother with depression

When I told some relatives and people close to me that I had depression, they told me some phrases -which although they were surely trying to help me- did not help me and even made me sink more. For this reason, and because I know that there are many people who do not know what to say or how to support someone with depression , I share with you the things you should not say.

  • You have everything to be happy . Yes, we can have it all, there are even other people who have it all, like some celebrities. But “having it all” isn’t enough when we don’t have one of the most important things: mental health and wellness. Saying that we have everything to be happy can even confuse the person with depression more, because in many cases, we have no idea why we feel that way, making us question everything.
  • Your children are the only motivation you need . That the children are the engine of the parents there is no doubt. I am sure that as dads and moms, we are able to get strength when our body can’t take it anymore. But when you suffer from depression, your mind becomes so cloudy that you may even feel that your children will be better off without you.
  • There is no time to be depressed when you are a mother . This phrase is usually said by someone who wants to support you but has no sensitivity, or by someone who does not understand the seriousness of depression. It’s like saying: “don’t cry, there are many things to do”. By doing this, we are nullifying and minimizing the feeling of the mother with depression. Avoid this phrase at all costs, it doesn’t help at all.
  • Do you not love your children? Of wanting, of course we love them, what mother does not love her children? But depression has nothing to do with the love we have for our children. Depression is an issue that has to do with ourselves and nothing more.
  • You are like this because you want to be . This is a phrase that can be useful in other situations, that can help us open our eyes and realize that change is in our hands. But when it comes to depression, it’s like telling ourselves that we don’t want to be happy. And of course we want to be.
  • I don’t understand how you can feel this way being a mother . Understanding depression when you have never suffered from it is very, very difficult. I didn’t understand it, until it happened to me. And yet I still have a hard time explaining it. Talking about depression does not necessarily mean that we should “understand” it, but understand it.
  • Go ahead and do something . A phrase that says little and helps much less. It’s like telling someone who is overweight ” cheer up and lose weight “, or someone with financial problems ” cheer up and make more money “. If it’s not magic and it’s not just saying ” I’m not depressed today “. It is a long, painful process that requires small steps at a time.

Phrases you can say

Just because you don’t understand depression doesn’t mean you can’t support someone who has it. In fact, knowing that you have the support of the people who love you is one of the key pieces to start getting out of that black hole. These are some of the phrases that you can say to a mother with depression .

  • You are not alone . For me, this is one of the most important and most helpful. When you have depression, you can feel that the world is closing in on you, that all options are closed to you and that there is no one in the world who can help you. But yes there is, we just need to be reminded.
  • I am with you for whatever you need . What does a person with depression need? The reality is that everyone experiences it differently, but showing willingness to help in whatever is necessary to overcome it, helps us to think about those things that we must do and to ask for help to be able to achieve it.
  • Let’s get through this together . The key is “let’s go” and “together”. Depression makes us lonely, makes us feel abandoned and that nobody understands us. Nobody probably does, especially if they’ve never been depressed. But knowing that we are accompanied, knowing that someone will fight unconditionally by our side even if they don’t know for sure what is happening, is truly motivating.
  • How can I help you? This is a very respectful and loving way to show someone with depression that you genuinely care about helping them through it. Perhaps at first it is difficult for them to tell you something specific, but as I have said, little by little it will move forward.
  • Say nothing and just accompany . Sometimes you don’t feel like talking, don’t want help, or aren’t ready to talk about your depression. The best we can do in these cases is not to pressure the person to say what is happening. Let’s go with her, and when she’s ready, she’ll tell us how to help her. Many times the mere presence of someone who loves us is what it takes to not feel lost.

There is still much to understand, talk about, and continue to research about depression . It is not an easy subject, nor is it an easy matter to handle. It requires a lot of patience, a lot of love and a lot of understanding. Let us always do everything possible so that mothers with depression feel accompanied and loved, even if we do not clearly understand what is going through their minds .