If You're Friends With A Depressed Person, You Need To Read This

If You're Friends With A Depressed Person, You Need To Read This

Words to help somebody deal with their friend struggling with depression.

Your friend has not been acting like herself for quite some time. You thought that she was just upset about that bad grade she got on her math test or about that huge fight that she had with her mother. But after those things passed, she still seemed troubled. You’re getting worried about her. Her sadness never seems to dwindle. She is irritable and on edge, noticeably upset and preoccupied constantly. She is lifeless and uninterested, distant, and really not any fun to be around. You’re probably wondering what on earth got into this lively, cheery, happy, spirited girl you used to know. Did you do something? Did you say something? What on earth happened to her?

You try to help. You ask her to talk about what’s bothering her. You try to offer your hand and lend support. You try to tell her it’s okay, that whatever is going on in her life will work out. You tell her you love her and will always be her friend, no matter what. You don’t want to see her hurting, she’s your closest friend and she means the world to you. You try to remind her of all the amazing characteristics she has, and how she shouldn’t be feeling down.

At this point, you’ve done everything you can to try to reach out to your friend, but it seems like she’s only getting worse. Now, you’re maybe getting fed up with her. Every time you see her, she brings your mood down. You give her advice and try to be there for her, but you realize your efforts are making no difference. Honestly, you may feel like not hanging out with her anymore. She’s no fun, and never wants to do anything. She talks about depressing things, and everything is negative with her. But you feel compelled to stay friends with her and be there to work out her issues.

And you’re now probably confused and hurt. Why is she rejecting your offers to hang out on Fridays at your house? Why is she not answering your messages anymore? Whatever happened to your Snapchat streak that was on fire just not long ago? You’re probably thinking she doesn’t like you, or that she’s trying to push you out of the picture.

Well, here I am to speak for this depressed friend of yours, who cannot speak for herself.

It’s not your job to figure out why she’s depressed. You would have to be a medical professional to do that. There are a million different explanations as to why someone is depressed, from chemical imbalances in the brain to environmental factors

You can’t fix her, so don’t try to. Lord knows, every depressed person would love to sip a magical potion that will make it all be better and happy again, but nobody has figured out how to concoct something like that. In other words, the answer isn’t one thing, it’s not clear cut. Getting better is a long-term and multi-step process.

The good thing is, you can help her situation without necessarily “fixing” her.

What you can do for her is to highlight the fact that you are there to talk — with absolutely no filters. Depressed people often close up and build up walls because they feel as though people are belittling their pain, or making it seem insignificant. We’ve all heard the famous: “Well, there are children starving in Africa, you know.” That doesn’t help, at all. The fact that there are people “worse off” than you, doesn’t take back the fact that you are struggling. Telling someone that makes them feel even more depressed because they feel as though nobody understands them or “gets” them.

The best thing you can do is to encourage them to let it all out, without you judging them. Also, when you listen to them, let them feel what they are feeling. When they say, “I feel worthless.” Don’t say, "you’re being silly, you are not worthless. Stop that.” Let them know it’s okay that they are feeling worthless. Validate their feelings and emotions. Because let’s face it, playing devil’s advocate to whatever they’re feeling is not just going to make that negative feeling go away.

“You’re feeling sad, well feel happy.” “You’re feeling ungrateful, well be grateful.” It takes far more than that to change somebody’s mood. It will relieve a depressed person when you just let them feel everything, so please try to listen to listen, not listen to solve. What you need to get is how important the simple art of effective and meaningful communication can be to someone struggling with depression.

Being friends with a depressed person takes a lot of effort and energy. It’s almost like you have to overcompensate for their lack of energy. Being somebody’s therapist day and night, constantly listening to their problems, is exhausting. It's not that you don’t want to help them, because you do, and you try. But, sometimes it can feel as though you’re weighed down by their issues and it may seem suffocating.

I would advise you to help them as much as you can, but not so much that it hurts you. You should be living your own life and having fun. Only be a listening ear if you can handle it. Depressed people feel like a burden to people, always talking about their troubles and tribulations. So if you can’t handle it, it’s OK to leave the friendship or even just take a short break from it. Depressed people in no way want to inflict any sort of emotional distress on others. They get it if you choose to go. They will be mad, but that anger won’t be directed at you. They will just be mad that they have this awful illness taking over their minds that is affecting the things they used to love, like spending time with friends.

Depressed people are indeed sorry. Although depression is not their fault, they are still sorry that they can’t be smiley all the time like how they used to be. They miss the old times. They want to get better.

And if and when they do get better, they will never forget you for caring about them in their darkest hours.

Cover Image Credit: Lindsey Gaouette

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The Worst Part of the Past Year

I’m stronger because I had to be. I’m smarter because of my mistakes. I’m happier because I’ve overcome the sadness I have known

  

I am going to start out and be very open and honest with you. My past may come as a shock to some people because of how open I'm willing to be about it. I have no regrets of the roads I stumbled down because they were all lessons learned in the end. We all have times in our lives that we wish never happened, we want to bury it deep, deep down so that maybe we wont remember anymore. That's not how we are wired though, we are meant to open up about our wrongdoings and we are meant to learn from them, not pretend as if they didn't happen. That's why I'm sharing what I'm sharing with you today. The worst part of the past year was deciding to move to Canada and to finish my bachelors degree at Redeemer University College. 

I get asked by every single person "Why did you choose Redeemer University when your not even Canadian?". Well, simple; "there was a boy..."is all I ever say. Immediately they fill in the rest (but that's a whole different story for another time). In a nut shell we split and I stayed back in Florida and wasted my time with useless people that were filling me up with childish distraction. During that time I had completely lost sight of who I was. To me, I was literally going insane mentally and emotionally. I wasn't stable in the least and I could hardly hold a conversation with another person. I attached myself to someone I shouldn't have the last month before I left. The things this man introduced me to made it harder for me to let go. 

I did my first line of cocaine with a hundred dollar bill. I was terrified to even do this drug so before I even snorted it I was already shaking like a leaf. I wasn't comfortable and I thought that "this Sadie" was over with years ago. J (that's what we will call him) gave me another bump about every 15 minutes or so just to keep chasing the high. I HATED IT! I could feel my brain chemistry altering with every bump I would take. I had all this energy and no where to put it so my body would just tremble. J ended up giving me a Xanax to calm down. All I remember was the faint smell of gasoline and the soundtrack to 'Suicide Squad'. I woke up in J's bed and didn't remember any of the night. That was only the beginning, from there on out things got progressively worst. 



 

I knew this wasn't me and I knew I needed to get out of this place before things went any further. I headed to the airport and tried to get on the plane. Somehow the flight got messed up and I ended having to stay an extra day in Florida. I.FLIPPED. I made a huge scene at Tampa International Airport and yelled at a few of the ticket workers. I will remind you I was not myself at all at this point in time. 

My mom and dad had to carry me to the car and drove me home to fix my car (I got a flat the day prior). I was hysterically crying on the floor in the backseat on my mom's jeep. I was ripping out my hair and grabbing at my skin to try to break myself out of this meltdown, but I just couldn't. I couldn't calm down, I couldn't breathe, I couldn't stop screaming. It was as if I suppressed all the bad down and it all came spewing out like throw up. Eventually my parents finally sent me out and I headed to Canada to rewire my mind, heart and spirit. 

The first week was BRUTAL! I got to stay with one of my dearest friends (which was great) but during the time I was coming off of a binge. I hadn't had a natural sleep in about a month and I didn't have much of an appetite either. I felt so hypersensitive to everything. When I would try to sleep I could hear a constant buzzing for hours on end that drove me insane. I opened up to friends to seek help and I even went to go see a few counselors and they even referred me. Nothing was helping with my pain though. Not until I turned my life over to God. 

I think sometimes God doesn’t just take our pain away when we ask Him. I think we have to push through the pain, walk through the pain, heal through the pain and pray through the pain. instead of praying it away, maybe sometimes He just wants us to pray through it. healing doesn’t come easy and rebuilding doesn’t happen overnight. It took months to recover and become who I was again and I was only able to do it through Lord, our savior. I’ve had my heart broken, my hope destroyed, my mind distorted, my worth questioned, and my soul stained. In all of these, Jesus was able to restore. He was able to redeem. He was able to bring to life what was once dead. He was able to make all things new. He is still able. He never changes. If He has done it once, He will continue to do so. The only thing we must do is to allow Him to take control. Jesus reigns in us, He is now in charge, not us. He makes His kingdom alive in us no matter what we have been through, all things are made new when He comes to dwell in us. Allow Him to live in you and you will witness a beautiful come alive.

I’m stronger because I had to be. I’m smarter because of my mistakes. I’m happier because I’ve overcome the sadness I have known and I’m wiser because I’ve learned from my life.

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Pessimists Aren't Negative, They're Realistic

Pessimism amounts to accepting the inexplicable contingencies of life.

Is the glass half empty or half full?

I’m sure most of us have heard this question and know what each answer implies: half empty means your pessimistic; half full means your optimistic.

Okay, sure, let’s roll with this analogy. Let’s also assume it’s a glass of water, which will serve as metaphor for growth, life, or any other trite symbol associated with water. Now, half-full implies it could be fuller, but more importantly ignores the inevitable emptiness of the glass.

On the other hand, replying half-empty acknowledges that the glass isn’t getting any fuller but is in fact propelling towards that undesirable state of emptiness, or keeping align with our metaphor, the glass will have no water, symbolizing the end of life i.e. death (sorry for the half-ass figurative language, but you get the idea).

This may sound depressing to some, but it really doesn’t have to be; death is ineluctable and is a truth of life and is something we all have to accept. In a sense, acknowledging life ends in death is the most realistic way to view life. And this, to me, is a defining characteristic of pessimists: being realistic.

This doesn’t mean optimists can’t be realistic, but being optimistic about the future isn’t exactly being realistic, because, like I said, the only future guarantee is death.

For example, when optimistic people tell someone in distress things will get better is pure bullshit because they can’t possibly know that things will get better. It’s possible things will get better, and this is why pessimists in this situation would say something like “Things could get better, or they could get worse.”

Once again, this may sound depressing, but I think it’s important to acknowledge that no one can predict the future. I understand that the traditional idea of pessimism is having a negative view of the future, but I don’t think this applies to modern day pessimists. Rather, a pessimistic outlook on the future implies that anything could happen, even the worst.

Therefore, admitting your lack of knowledge of the future is a big part of being a pessimist, but I also think pessimism implies admitting a lack of knowledge of anything, or a better way of putting it, you don’t understand anything.

I know this sounds stupid, but let me try to explain. By not understanding, I mean not understanding how things came to be. For example, some religions (I think) believe that everything happens for a reason; by doing so, these people are attempting to explain or justify certain events, and usually, these events are harmful and can’t be expressed as positive unless there is some “greater good” involved.

Now, a pessimist is the exact opposite, for they believe everything happens for no reason at all; they don’t try to justify horrible events because they understand that’s part of life. And while they understand that’s part of life, they know it’s impossible to understand why bad things are part of life.

Therefore, if it’s impossible to understand why things happen, then it’s impossible to understand, well, anything. In a sense, pessimists adhere to the idea that the only thing you know is that you know nothing. However, if this is the case, how can one know they know nothing?

Well, you can’t, but this is something we must accept. People find comfort in understanding how the world works, it gives them a sense of purpose and control. But once you accept the idea that nothing makes sense and everything is pointless, life becomes one giant joke.

And this is why pessimists have a terribly dark sense of humor, because in an absurd world where the only guarantee in life is the end of life, where irrationality trumps reason, and where all action amounts to nothing, the only appropriate response is to laugh.

Cover Image Credit: unsplash

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