The following are some thoughts taken from the Dep-Anon Family Group Manual: The 12 Step Support Group for Family and Friends of the Depressed. (1999) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Pages Y&Z.
” It is most tempting, when you find out someone is depressed to attempt to immediately fix the problem. However, until the depressed person has given you permission to be their therapist (as a friend or professional) the following responses are more likely to help.
“The things that didn’t make me feel worse are words which 1) acknowledge my depression for what it is (No, it’s just a phase ) 2) Give me permission to feel depressed( “but why should you be sad?”)”
Here is a list of things that might be said to a depressed family member or friend:
1. I love you.
2. I care.
3. You’re not alone in this.
4. I’m not going to leave/abandon you.
5. Do you want a hug?
6. It will pass, we can ride it out together.’
7. When it is all over, I’ll still be here (if you mean it) and so will you.
8. Don’t say anything, just hold my hand and listen while I cry.
9. We are not primarily on earth to see through one another, but to see one another through.
10. I’m sorry you’re in so much pain. I am not going to leave you. I am going to take care of myself so you don’t need to worry that your pain might hurt me.
11. I listen to you talk about it, and I can’t imagine what it’s like for you. I just can’t imagine how hard it is for you.
12. You are important to me.
13. If you need a friend…(and mean it).
-Compiled by firstname.lastname@example.org,com. Version 12.