When your friend or loved one suffers from bipolar disorder, what are the best things you can tell them?
Supporting Someone with Bipolar - For Family and Friends
Cliches and platitudes usually aren't much help to someone who is depressed. Being depressed is not the same thing as just being sad about something. This list, compiled from a Usenet group, offers some useful statements you can make to a friend or loved one who is depressed.
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. Acknowledge the depression for what it is, and give permission for them to feel depressed.
- "I love you"
- "I care"
- "You're not alone in this"
- "I'm not going to leave/abandon you"
- "Do you want a hug?"
- "You are important to me"
- "If you need a friend..."
- "It will pass, we can ride it out together"
- "When all this is over, I'll still be here"
- "You have so many extraordinary gifts - how can you expect to live an ordinary life?"
- "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"
- "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 must be"
- "I can't really fully understand what you are feeling, but I can offer my compassion"
- "I'm sorry you're having to go through this. I care about you and care that you are hurting"
- "I'll be your friend no matter what"
- "I cannot understand the pain you're in, I cannot feel it. But hold onto my hand while you walk through this storm, and I'll do my very best to keep you from slipping away"
- "I'm never going to say, 'I know how you feel' unless I truly do, but if I can do anything to help, I will"
- Created: 30 December 2008
- Last Updated: 21 October 2013