Skip main navigation

£199.99 £139.99 for one year of Unlimited learning. Offer ends on 28 February 2023 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply

Find out more

They say, you hear

When we're low, we sometimes misinterpret what others are saying, assuming a more negative meaning. Watch this video demonstration.
Hi Jack.
How are you doing today? Good. Good.
How do you think I’m doing? There’s obviously something wrong with me. Here we go again. What do I have to do to get through to him? You know, your mum and I were talking recently. We were saying you haven’t had any of your friends over recently. And you know, we haven’t given you a lift to Dan’s or Bob’s. Do you fancy going and seeing one of your mates? I’m fine. No?
I’m pathetic. I’ve got no friends.I wish I could just make him feel better. I mean, I could give you a lift today. I’ve got time. I’ll happily give you a lift.
I’m useless, a disappointment to both of you. I don’t know where the old Jack has gone. What about tomorrow? I’ve got time, actually, almost all day. In the morning or, well, you’re not gonna want the morning. You’re never up. But in the afternoon, I could give you a lift in the afternoon. I’ll just relax. I need my parents to get friends for me. I bet they wouldn’t want to see me anyway.Your mum and I were saying that we’re really, it’s really good that you can relax. But you don’t see your mates. You don’t help around the house. You don’t, I mean, your mum said your room looks like a bomb site. You need to tidy to your room.
Oh, come on.
I’m no good at anything. I’m messy and a waste of space.
Jack, you need to tidy your room. It’s fine. I can’t believe I just lost my temper with him. I don’t know what to do. This is hard.

Watch this video featuring Jack and Pete (both played by actors) speaking to each other. (Please note that this video was filmed prior to the pandemic and the lockdown guidelines).

What do you think got in the way of Jack and his father being able to communicate well?

How to prevent mis-communication

To try and avoid some of this confusion and misunderstanding, give others time to express themselves, and try to pause and think about what they’ve said, and what they might mean before letting your thoughts run away with you.

Once you’ve paused and listened, if you’re still confused or if it feels like they’ve said something challenging, calmly ask for more information. Remind yourself that the person talking to you (or the person listening), may be feeling low or agitated right now. Low mood and depression has a sneaky way of twisting what we hear and making us interpret things much more negatively. Is one of you misinterpreting what has just been said?

This article is from the free online

COVID-19: Helping Young People Manage Low Mood and Depression

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education