9 Gestures You Can Make To Help Your Friend With Depression
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9 Gestures You Can Make To Help Your Friend With Depression

Little things with large impact.

9 Gestures You Can Make To Help Your Friend With Depression
Adrian Hillman

Many of us struggle with mental illness and/or have friends that do. Sometimes it feels like there's nothing you can do to help your friend who is struggling. Sometimes you feel like it's up to you to cheer up your friend, when that is virtually impossible to do.

1. Sit with them.

Maybe your friend is having a rough day. Maybe they are really overwhelmed or lonely. Offer to just sit there with them. Sometimes all someone needs is to know they have another person in their corner for support. It can be beneficial just to know someone is there.

2. Offer them a cup of tea/cocoa.

Sometimes offering to make someone something warm to drink is the most comforting and uplifting thing you can do. Sometimes for people who experience depression, something as simple as boiling water may make seem out of their grasp. Offer to make them a cup of tea. Sometimes something so simple can mean the world to someone.

3. Think before making comments to them.

Sometimes it is the gut response to tell your friend to lighten up or to feel better. While the negative and pessimistic outlook of someone who is depressed may sometimes be hard to deal with, it is important to remember that it may not be in their control how glum they feel. Depression is chemical; it is an instability of neurotransmitters in the brain and can be be treated in many different ways. When someone is always feeling down no matter how hard they try to feel better, it can make them feel worse to tell them to cheer up; it can make them feel powerless. Try to be encouraging to your friend while also being sensitive to the situation they are in.

4. Still invite your friend out.

Being the friend that struggles to make it through the day sucks. Not having the energy to go out when everyone else does isn't a joyous thing. Sometimes it hurts when you're not able to go out and do the same things everyone else is doing. Offer an invitation to your friend anyways. Don't pressure them to do things that feel out of their grasp, but make it clear they have a spot with you if they choose to take it. Sometimes just knowing someone still wants them around can be super beneficial for your friend who is struggling with depression.

5. Play them a song that makes you feel happy.

Music is one of the most connecting things out there. Music has the power to shift a mood I know personally, when I get really dark and down and can't get out of bed, listening to music that perpetuates that mood is really detrimental for my mental health. Music can be really uplifting for a lot of people, and sharing something that makes you feel better with your friend might make them feel considered. I'm not saying your favorite song will alter their depression, but it can alter their mood just a little, which is always something nice to do.

6. Offer to make dinner plans with them.

Sometimes depression takes the fun right out of eating. It makes it hard to make healthy choices or even remember to eat three actual meals a day. I have a friend who only eats candy when she gets depressed. It often makes her feel ten times worse. A healthy, real meal can be really powerful. Sometimes basic things are too much for your friend. Not only is it beneficial to their health to help them when they struggle with eating and making the time to eat, but it can also make them feel cared about which is always important.

7. Offer to be there for the things that upset them.

While struggling with my mental health the nicest thing a friend did for me was when my roommate offered to sit with me while I made phone calls because she knew how stressful it would be. Maybe walking to class alone makes your friend feel really isolated. Offer to walk with them.

8. Offer a hug.

I'm not a hugger. I'm not a touchy person and there's a chance your friend is like this as well. That being said, I like knowing that if I want that physical comfort, it is there for me. Offer your friend a hug if they need it. There's something indescribable about physical comfort. While it can be anxiety producing for some, for others it is all they need and they don't know how to ask for it.

9. Learn what cheers them up.

Maybe your friend loves watching baby animal videos. Maybe they love looking at cooking videos on Youtube. Perhaps, when they are really depressed, the only thing that gets them at all out of the haze is watching children's cartoons. Learn the small things that make your friend happy. Text them a picture of cute baby goats in pajamas when you know they're having a rough day. Send them the link to their favorite youtuber. Offer to watch an episode of their favorite TV show with them. While these things are so small in the scheme of things, they can have a huge impact.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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