Be Careful of the Words that you use.

Be Careful of the Words that you use.

Be careful of the words that you use.


“I have depression on me!”


“I have anxiety on me!”


“I have happiness on me!”


I was reading a short social media post recently that explained how different languages interpret mental and emotional ailments and experiences. For the life of me, I wish I had made a note at the time, but I think the post was about Irish Gaelic being literally translated into English.


How would an Irish person say, “I am depressed” in Gaelic? I believe it translates as “I have depression on me”. Let’s take that to the nth degree. Instead of saying, “I am depressed” or “I have depression”, it is worded to suggest that the affliction is not a part of them. It is something that they are experiencing at that time. It is away from them. It is an experience, rather than an identifying label. You could equally say “I am experiencing depression right now!” Or furthermore, you could equally say “I am experiencing anxiety/sadness/happiness right now!” You have to be careful of the words that you use.


Recently, I have discussed this concept with clients who are seeing me for hypnotherapy to help them with their experience of anxiety. I have been listening to their words and observing how their body language changes as they talk about anxiety or depression. It is common to see people slump their shoulders forward, have their head fall forward, and gesticulate with their hands when talking about “their” depression or anxiety. When I ask the client to change the wording to “I have anxiety on me”, or “I am experiencing anxiety right now”, they initially smile at the peculiar request, and after they repeat the new wording, we discuss their changed posture and how they are feeling now.


More often than not, it is as if we have introduced lightness to the subject. It is no longer an affliction of which the client has been burdened, it is now something that is away from them, that can be discussed. To use the Satir model of therapy we can place it in the empty chair and have a conversation with it.


If you have, or are currently experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety or happiness, I wonder what changes you would observe if you changed the wording when talking about it. Maybe you could look in the mirror and tell yourself “I have depression on me right now!” Or “right now I am experiencing depression”. That opens the door to allow a different experience to enter. The only word of warning I give is to be careful of the words that you use. They might define you. If you would like to book an appointment to see Brett for hypnotherapy, click here. It could be a great act of self kindness.


Brett Cameron is a hypnotherapist/mentor/award-winning author/public speaker based in Newcastle Australia. He can be found at and