“You have nothing to be sad about, people have it so much worse than you do.” I have heard this statement far too many times and I think it’s time to emphasize just how hurtful and wrong it is.

First, let us take the concept of “people have it worse than you do” and apply it to another, pretty graphic situation. Two people just broke their legs in a soccer accident. However, one person managed to fracture their leg in three places while the other only fractured theirs in two places. Technically, Person A has it worse, so are you telling me Person B has no right to complain about their pain and suffering? I apologize for the disturbing example, but hopefully, it gets the message across. Technically, someone will always have it worse than you, but this does not, and I repeat, does NOT mean that you should feel guilty about being upset over your own circumstances.

You don’t always know what someone may be going through because many feel pressured to hide their problems. Just because the person seems to have a “perfect” life doesn’t mean that they aren’t struggling with something they are afraid to mention. It’s very possible that they have a personal issue. I mean, can you blame someone for not opening up? Society has become too damn judgmental and, in turn, has created a threatening and intimidating environment for those who need a helping hand.

For me, personally, it took years and years of effort to break the cycle of bottling up everything that was bothering me until I couldn’t handle it anymore. I cannot stress enough how detrimental this is to someone’s mental health. Before you go and tell someone they shouldn’t be upset, try to remember that you don’t know what happens behind closed doors.

Depression is cruel. I don’t know where the misconception that depression is “just a phase” came from, but it’s about time we end it. Biologically, depression occurs when there is a chemical imbalance or when an individual has a smaller hippocampus than others in the brain. With new research being conducted every day, I’m sure there is an abundance of other biological reasons as well, but for now, these are the most two well known. What happens in the brain is out of a person’s control, so telling someone to “cheer up” or to “just snap out of it” can actually be impossible to accomplish. Depression can affect absolutely anyone; the disease does not discriminate. It doesn’t matter if someone has good grades, a healthy family life, a happy relationship, or whatever else you can think of.

Depression, in my opinion, is one of the most brutal conditions because its victims are vulnerable and unable to prevent it from happening. Imagine waking up and immediately dreading having to get out of bed because you are so fatigued. Everything that once excited you has now lost its luster, further sending you into a melancholy state. As each day passes without feeling any better, you begin to lose hope that you’ll ever be able to pick yourself up. If you really want someone to feel better, try being sensitive and caring. Try offering nonjudgmental support. Try to end the stigma that causes depressed people to feel ashamed of their condition. Stop telling them that others have it worse because you are severely wounding their recovery processes.

So, next time you're about to tell someone that they have no reason to be upset, please consider the damage you will be causing.