Happy Tuesday, lovely people in the blogosphere world! Or any world really. Doesn’t matter to me. What matters is that you are here. Reading this blog post. Which is currently comprised of sentences. Short sentences.
Anyways, today I decided to take a bit of a bold step in my writing and talk about a few of the ways that you can help someone in your life who struggles with depression. Of course, I want to be absolutely clear that nobody struggles with depression the same exact way, and while the things I talk about are good strategies for helping someone like me, they may not work as well for someone who has had a different journey. As always, communication is paramount to being helpful in any way.
First off, hold their hand. This can be literal or figurative. When I’m struggling and someone just sits down beside me and holds my hand, I can instantly feel ten times safer. It’s okay if the someone is scrolling through Facebook on their phone or talking to another person, in fact that might even be better because there is no direct pressure. The little unassuming text messages that remind me of something beautiful, or just say ‘I love you’ or ‘How you doing?.’ Those can mean the world to someone who is struggling through a bout of depression.
Cooking them food, particularly their favorite food, is something that can help anyone feel better. So often, when depression hits hard, you have no desire to eat, let alone cook something. So, not only does cooking help your depressed loved one eat when they really need to, but it’s a gesture that makes them feel your love and concern.
Okay, so maybe getting out of bed in the morning, or combing out your hair seems like the most simple thing to do. But for someone in the midst of depression, those things can seem absolutely impossible. So, instead of pushing for them to do something very big or obvious, just encourage them to take a shower today. And if they do, then celebrate, and be honest and sincere. Understand what a victory is for them and make their victory your victory.
Many times, people struggling with mental health disorders say no to events, parties, outings, etc. This isn’t because they necessarily don’t enjoy the activity, but rather that social events only bring to life the struggles that they are having, making it frustrating and sometimes damaging for their health. But, what I want to point out is that you should never stop inviting your friend to go places with you. Of course you should try to take them places that they won’t feel as abnormal and dysfunctional, but please, even if they constantly say no, please don’t stop inviting them to parties and outings. Don’t stop offering to do things with them. It’s a comfort to them just to know that you want them around.
Always continue to reassure that person with depression. Always remind them that you accept them and love them, that you don’t pity them, that they are not broken, etc. A mind struggling against depression will often convince itself that certain ideas are the truth, even when they are blatant lies. Never stop refuting those lies whenever you have the chance. Continue to state the truth.
Like I said at the beginning of the post: communication is essential to success when being in a relationship/friendship with someone who is depressed. Don’t always assume that something will help. Ask – ask every time. And always accept and support, even when you may not understand.
Love, Katharine Marie.