There is a problem with depression.
Most people don’t understand what it actually is.
Which leads to all sorts of communication problems and frustrations.
It also means when people are low they feel like they can’t reach out for fear of being turned down.
Watch this video and read the article to learn how to never hear phrases like “just snap out of it” again.
The “Just Snap Out Of It” Insanity
Have you ever been told to “just snap out of it” one too many times and almost went insane from it?
Or maybe you weren’t told to “just snap out of it” but instead were slapped in the face with one of its friendly cousins.
The “Instant Relief” Versions:
- Just shake it off.
- Get a grip.
- Grow up and deal with your problems.
The “Spiritual” Versions:
- You need to pray, God is all you need.
- Just be Happy (with a capital H).
- Count your blessings.
- Practice gratitude and enjoy the little things and those you love.
- Read the Bible and your depression will lift.
The “Compare Yourself” Versions:
- Think of all the people with less than you have
- There are people who have no food and are happy
- People in other countries have it so much worse, we have no right to be unhappy.
The “It’s In Your Head” Versions:
- You think too much and over analyze things.
- There’s no such thing as depression.
- Just get over it.
- Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.
The “Random Acceptance” Versions:
- Just let yourself go.
- That’s just the way life is.
- Depression is just a disease and you’ll be like that the rest of your life.
Let me know what else you have heard so I can add them to the master list.
How To Effectively Respond to “Just Snap Out Of It”
First Things First – Why They Say “Just Snap Out Of It” In The First Place
It’s one of the most annoying things to hear others tell you to just snap out of it and think positive when all you want to do is blow your head off, but we also have to understand why they say that.
The average person, especially someone that has never experienced depression, has no idea what is going on when you tell them things like, “I feel horrible and just want to die. My life sucks. I don’t see the point in going on.”
For a person that is simply “down” or “sad” all they actually have to do is go for a run and spend half a day shaking it off and they feel better! To them, a small feeling of sadness is on the same playing field as full blown depression. They have just never actually crossed into the territory of real depression, so they have no real understanding of what you are experiencing.
Once you understand where they are coming from, you can begin to form the bridge of understanding to your situation.
The Alcohol Analogy
I came up with this analogy years ago and it has yet to fail me once in helping someone else understand what I meant when I was depressed and couldn’t just do a few jumping jacks and feel better.
Depression is a physiological state that you are in and cannot get out of.
The best way to describe it is to tell the person to imagine that they just drank a massive quantify of alcohol. Choose their favorite drink and choose a quantity that would put them on their butt in a state of drunkenness. I wouldn’t recommend it, but if you really wanted to ensure they understand, feel free to get them drunk for the analogy (just kidding, but I guarantee you that would work).
Now ask them, if they were in that state of being drunk, and right in the middle of it you looked at them and said, “Okay! Now just ‘think’ sober thoughts and snap out of it! Be sober! Right now!” what would they say to you?
They would say there is nothing they can do in that moment to just stop being drunk.
The bridge of understanding has been formed.
Depression is Physiological and Cannot Always Be Dealt with Cognitively
This was one of the biggest turning points for me when I realized that trying to use positive thinking was actually making me worse.
Let the person know that just like being drunk from alcohol, being in a depressed state simply means something is off and you are stuck there until you get everything working correctly.
No matter how much snapping, mini trampoline jumping, shaking your body off, growing up, or comparing yourself to impoverished nations you do, that won’t correct a vitamin deficiency. No matter how many blessings your count, that won’t get rid of a hormonal imbalance.
How To Never Hear “Just Snap Out Of It” Again
An even better way to deal with someone telling you to “just snap out of it” is to never hear them say that in the first place.
We also have to realize and accept that a lot people respond the way they do is because we don’t tell them about our problems properly.
Remember, people don’t understand what depression really is. It is our job to communicate to them properly so that they can actually help us.
Instead of expressing yourself generically, try actually saying what you need in that moment.
Instead of, “I feel like killing myself,” which someone who doesn’t understand depression has no idea how to respond to, tell your friend, “I feel out of control right now and just need someone to just talk to and give me the push to find solutions. I don’t need advice or any words of wisdom, just someone to talk to and hear me out. Is that okay?”
Do you see the difference?
Instead of, “Life sucks, I don’t think I’ll ever get better, I don’t know what to do, I just hate myself,” tell your friend, “Right now, advice or words of encouragement won’t help me. I feel like I am trapped and losing hope in ever feeling better. I just need someone to remind me of who I am and go out and get something to eat or do. Are you free later today to do something for an hour? If not, no worries.”
The friend that heard the first phrase has no idea what to do. He or she feels uncomfortable, wants to help, but gets frustrated that they can’t do anything either, and just tells you, “Look, you gotta just shake it off! Go for a run and you’ll feel better.”
The friend that hears the second, clear version will know exactly what they can do to help you.
The Key To Getting Help Is Proper Communication
You’ll be surprised at the responses you start to get when you know how to talk to people about how you feel and what you need, and you’ll also be surprised at how powerful it is to set up the conversation that way.
You might find yourself actually getting what you need, and never having to hear “just snap out of it” again.
Afterwards, get out there and start figuring out what your root causes are so you can actually feel better to the point where you only have “sad” days and can go out and shake the sadness off.