How to Love Someone in Their Darkest Stages of Depression
Mental illness is an epidemic taking over our nation. A majority of individuals have some form of a mental health problem in one way or another, whether diagnosed or undiagnosed, medicated or unmedicated, accepted or unaccepted. One of the hardest things to do is to witness someone go through the stages of depression – especially the worst of it – because in reality, you feel helpless. I’ve been there. Most of us have been there. Coming from someone who has been to the depths and back, this is what I appreciated most and things that people with depression never want:
We Want Silent Company
A lot of the time, we don’t want to talk. We don’t want to talk about our feelings and our emotions, chances are we already see a therapist for that. Sometimes we just want someone there. Present. Simply in the room next to us so that we know that there still is life and that people want to be with just US and not try to just help.
We Want Distractions
There have been times where I haven’t moved from my bed for 22 hours out of an entire day. There have been times when I’ve come home from school and laid in my bed with my lights off at 5 PM until I fell asleep because I didn’t have the energy to think of anything to do. So please, make a game plan – something that you know we enjoy. Tell us to go out. Bring us to get our favorite food, take a walk in the park, look at baby albums, grab one of those zen coloring books and color, force us to go to a friend’s house. We don’t have the energy to even WANT to do something we enjoy. So plan it out for us and make sure we do it.
We Want You to Bring Up Something We Love to Talk About
If we’re cognizant enough to hold a conversation, ask us how our favorite class in school is. Ask us about that boss that is playing favorites. Ask us to explain a concept in our favorite art form or an interesting fact we learned; something we’re passionate about. We most likely don’t want to talk, but if we have to, at least have us enjoy it.
We Don’t Want Advice
If we’re on meds, chances are we’re already thinking of changing them so don’t suggest that. If we see a therapist, chances are we’re already thinking of visiting them more often than we already do, so don’t suggest that. Although intentions are good, when someone is going through depression, the last thing they want to hear is what they should be doing with their life – especially when it comes to stuff of the mental nature.
We Don’t Want a Pep Talk
Rule of thumb: never tell a person with depression to “get over it” or that “someone has it worse.” Depression is not something you can just “get over.” Depression is an illness, a condition. It’s medical, just like if you had diabetes. You don’t tell someone with diabetes to just “get over it.” No. Depression is not something someone can control or just snap our fingers and it goes away. That’s just not how it works. And as for “someone having it worse?” Well, pain is pain. Everyone feels pain in one way or another. Who is to be the judge of my struggles? Would that, in turn, make it okay for me to judge the struggles of others? Never say that someone has it worse. The truth is, we’re all hurting.
We Don’t Want People to Give Up On Us
We know the pain that we feel, but we can’t imagine the pain that friends and family must feel trying to walk through our darkest moments with us. But we don’t want you to go no matter how much we may push you away. We don’t want you to get so annoyed that you throw your hands up and say “Whatever, I give up, there’s no use.” Because even though it may not seem like you’re helping, you are more than you’ll ever know.