Twenty ways to say, “I love you” to someone who is depressed

Vincent_Willem_van_Gogh_002If you haven’t experienced depression yourself, it can be difficult to understand what your loved one is going through. Your daughter, or friend, or spouse, or sibling who used to be cheerful and energetic now stays in bed most of the day. Or they still get up, go to school or work, but don’t smile anymore, or talk to you much. Or they talk so much that it’s exhausting, and it’s all about how bad they’re feeling, and you don’t know what to say or to do. They don’t seem to hear you, or believe you, when you say you love them.

As someone who has been through times of deep depression, I thought I’d write down some of ways my friends and family said, “I love you,” that meant a lot to me, as well as some things I wish someone had been able to say. If you struggle with depression yourself, I would love if you would add to this list in the comments.


“I am not going anywhere.”

“You are worth more than your accomplishments.”

“I believe you are doing the best you can.”

“What do you need?”

“You are important to me.”

“We need you here.”

“Your needs are valid.”

“If you want to talk, I will listen.”

“It’s okay if you want to be alone, but I am here when you need me.

“I don’t understand what you’re going through, but I want to. Can you tell me how you’re feeling?”

“I believe you.”

“Call me anytime.”

“I can’t talk on the phone much but I will read every text, email, or message that you send me.”

“I can’t _____ but I can _____.”

“I can’t _____ but it is not because you are too needy; it’s just that my resources are limited.”

“Can I help you find someone to talk to?”

“Can I bring you a meal? Ice cream?”

“We are going to get through this together.”

“You are not alone.”

“I love you.”


If you want to read more about my own experience of depression and how I made it through, I’m writing a book for Fortress Press due out in 2019. Subscribe to this blog or follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates and to join in the conversation.

2 thoughts on “Twenty ways to say, “I love you” to someone who is depressed

  1. suzysims1980 says:

    Show up on their doorstep even if you have nothing but yourself. Don’t stay too long. A hug goes a long way in helping someone who is locked into their pain.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ...somewhat anonymous. says:

    I really…really wish…I’d received such encouraging words…as these…recently.

    Instead, kind of got unexpected slaps in the face after…working up the courage to reach out to folks I trusted…who actually do have personal experience with depression…so between that and their always telling me they’re there for me and that I need to reach out when things get…bad…I received the opposite of things shared above.

    You are very loved to have folks like that in your life.

    Liked by 1 person

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