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.
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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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Everything You Need To Know About BANG Energy Drinks

Say goodbye to your favorite pre-workout drink.
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BANG energy drinks from VPX Sports are the hottest new products for athletes everywhere. On every can, you'll find their catchphrase "Potent Brain & Body Fuel" and it gives you just that. Clean energy, laser-sharp focus, and no sugar induced crashes are just a few of the reasons these bad boys are flying off the shelves faster than retailers can keep them stocked. Haven't heard of them? Sound too good to be true? Let me answer your questions.

What is it? It's an energy drink that's kind of like your typical Red Bull or Monster. It's a perfect substitution for pre-workout supplements or coffee.

Who's it meant for? Anyone! A better question to ask is, "Who isn't this drink meant for?" On the can, you'll find a recommendation for no one under the age of 18 to consume the drink. You also may want to steer clear of it if you're sensitive to stimulants like caffeine.

What's in it? BANG energy drinks contain zero calories, zero carbohydrates, and zero sugar. But what you can find are BCAA's, CoQ10, creatine, and copious amounts of caffeine. These are things athletes often take as supplements.

What are BCAA's? BCAA's are Branched Chain Amino Acids. They are known to stimulate protein synthesis, increase muscle function, decrease your soreness after a workout, and even aid in repairing damaged muscles.

What's CoQ10? Coenzyme Q10 is found in the mitochondria of your cells and sparks energy production. It helps produce energy your body needs for cell growth and maintenance. People often take this as a dietary supplement when they feel tired or lethargic.

What's super creatine? Creatine does a great job in enhancing athletic performance by aiding growth of lean body mass (AKA muscle). When you take creatine orally, the amount in your muscles increase and helps regenerate ATP more efficiently. According to the nutrition label, this so-called "super" creatine is bonded to Leucine to make Creatyl-L-Leucine. On SupplementReviews.com, a VPX Sports representative allegedly said the following about the Super Creatine in the drink:

"The creatine in there is actually something very special...it is the world's only water stable creatine. It is Creatine-Leucine peptide. Think of this...if you mix creatine in water, it sinks and if you mix leucine in water, it floats....if you combine the two into a peptide, it creates a water soluble and water-stable form of creatine. It also has a fatty acid chain that makes it easier to cross the blood brain barrier. The focus of the super creatine is not for muscle function, but for cognition...by combining this form of creatine with caffeine, it works synergistically for mental focus."

How much caffeine is in one can? In one can of BANG, you'll be blessed with 300mg of caffeine. This is the equivalent to over three cups of coffee.

Is that even safe? Yeah, it is. In order for the caffeine in the energy drink to be lethal at any capacity, I would have to drink 30.7 cans.

So, what are the downsides? There are two things that come to mind. One is that consumers have no idea how much BCAA's, CoQ10, or creatine is actually in the drink. It could very likely be trace amounts too small to do anything beneficial. Two, BANG energy drinks do not go through the FDA approval process.

Is it really that good? Well, out of 113 reviews of the product on Bodybuilding.com, there's an average 9.6 overall rating. Most reviews comment on the quality of the energy, the cognitive focus, and the non-existent crash once the drink wears off.

What kind of flavors can I get? There are currently eight BANG energy drink flavors on the market: Black Cherry Vanilla, Cotton Candy, Sour Heads, Star Blast, Blue Razz, Champagne Cola, Power Punch, and Lemon Drop.

Where can I buy BANG energy drinks? You can find BANG energy drinks at Amazon, your local GNC or Vitamin Shoppe retailers, Bodybuilding.com, VPX Sports' website, some gas stations, and privately owned retailers.

How expensive are they? This depends on where you make your purchase. The cheapest place to purchase your BANG energy drinks is at Bodybuilding.com for about $2.00 per can. You can find similar prices on Amazon and at your local retailers. The energy drinks are most expensive through the VPX website where you'll pay about $2.75 per can.

How does BANG compare to other energy drinks? I'll give you some data on nutrition facts and you can make your decisions based on that:

16 oz. BANG: 300mg caffeine, 0g carbohydrates, 0g sugar.

16 oz. Monster Energy (regular): 160mg caffeine, 54g carbohydrates, 54g sugar

16 oz. Red Bull (regular): 160mg caffeine, 56g carbohydrates, 56g sugar

16 oz. Rockstar (regular): 144g caffeine, 54g carbohydrates, 54g sugar

Cover Image Credit: Youtube

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Self-Care When You're Broke AF Is Hard But Not Impossible

Because we all need to take better care of ourselves, even us financially struggling folx.

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Let's face it: things cost money. Not all of us can go out to the movies every time we're sad, or get a pedicure when we're stressed out. I'm one of those people who struggles financially, and I'm also *often* sad and/or stressed out.

I'll be completely honest: I spend a lot of time on social media trying to de-stress – but it doesn't help whatsoever. However, it's (essentially) free for me. I know people who spend half their lives on the couch watching TV because it costs too much to go out, and it seems like there's nothing to do around the house.

But despite what capitalist society preaches, there are so many ways that you can take care of yourself and have fun, without spending lots of money.

Take care of your mental health

When I say "mental health", I am referring to the cognitive processes rather than the symptoms of mental illness. (We'll get to that later!) Mental self-care is the most important because it allows for successful completion of emotional, physical, and social self care.

Mindfulness is the key component of mental self-care. According to mindful.org, mindfulness means you are "fully present, aware of what you are and what you're doing, and not overly reactive and overwhelmed by what's going on around us."

That sounds boring! Yeah, it is. However, it's important to realize that mindfulness is a key aspect in self-care. Many self-care activities rely on mindful awareness. If you can't stay engaged in the moment, how are you supposed to enjoy the moment?

Mindfulness activities to try

Prayer

If you are religious, practicing your religion establishes routine and also fulfills your spiritual self. Taking a moment to reflect on the day or week and asking for guidance brings you into the present and is also a great way to practice self compassion.

You don't have to be religious to practice this, nor do you have to follow a religion with a god or with "praying" routines.

Meditation

My personal favorite is the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 method, but there are SO many that I cannot begin to describe them all.

The 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, method activates self-awareness with senses: 5 things with your eyes, 4 things with your ears, 3 things with your body, 2 things with your nose, 1 thing with your tongue.

Another common one is the body scan, where you dedicate time to "scanning" your body and becoming aware of it, from your feet to your head. You can find more exercises here and here.

WOOHOO! We're done with the boring part.

Things to do when you need to feel control

1. Organize a photo board of good memories. Or of your favorite celebrity or TV show. This can be a

digital photo board too! (Aka Pinterest.)

2. Make a list of your friend's birthdays. And then make them some quirky/funny birthday cards in advance.

3. Make a playlist for a friend. Put it on a CD or cassette if you feel like it.

4. Clean your room, but reorganize it completely different.

5. Dye your hair. (Listen…I'm not talking about a salon dye. Grab a friend and hit Walmart -- you can get semi-permanent hair dye for about $5.)

6. Go to a dollar store, or FiveBelow (god bless), or a thrift store. Buy a cheap glass dish and write whatever is stressing you out. Smash that darn thing on the ground outside. (Please be safe and smart about this.)

Things to do when you need to feel less alone

1. Text or post on social media this question: "What is the best memory we have together?" Print those comments out and tape them in a journal or on your wall.

2. Make a web of people you love. Whether that's a complex spiderweb made out of yarn or just a piece of paper and pencil, trust me, it'll give you some perspective.

3. Invite a friend over to make some baked goods. (You can get some cheap cookie mix for $2-$4.) Play some board games, or answer some deep question prompts back and forth.

4. Build a huge fort with a pal and watch a feel-good movie. (Feel-good on your terms, BTW. Some people's feel-good is a horror movie). Make some popcorn. Have a sleepover in that fort.

5. Read a book with a main character similar to you.

6. Listen to music that describes how you're feeling. Or, how you'd like to be feeling.

Things to do when you're bored or need a break

1. Play a video game! (PSST…Fortnite is free. Or check out the free or indie games on Steam).

2. Host a spa day with your friends. (P.S. I don't care what gender you are, there is nothing quite like a face mask and coconut oil in your hair.)

3. Host a "fancy" party in which you dress up and eat cheap snacks of your choice. Make fake nominations for something. (This is especially fun around Oscars, Emmys, and Tony's time!)

4. Host your own paint'n'pour. You don't need elaborate supplies, I promise. And it doesn't need to be artsy – it can be funny! Hell, if you want to print out something like this and just use crayons/colored pencils lying around, that'd be a pretty fun time.

5. Get some friends together for a mystery dinner potluck. You can find some free ones online or write your own. You can even make this a lunch or brunch time thing if you'd like.

Things to do to take care of yourself

1. Exercise. I know, the last thing you want to hear when you feel bad is the word "exercise." But it scientifically *does* help (read: help, not cure.) You can find yoga Youtube videos online or general equipment-free exercises
2. Shower! Bathe! Take a long bath with Epsom salts. Make your own bath bombs. Shave, if you want to.
3. Make a smoothie. Eat some fruits. And hydrate.
4. Change your clothes. Do your laundry. I promise, you'll feel so much better.

5. Take a nap!

No matter what you choose to do, take care of yourself.

When we let our bodies run on empty, we are less likely to perform at our best. When you give yourself time to relax and heal, you are letting your body and mind recharge to full capacity. At the end of the day, remember, you're human, not a superhero.

Cover Image Credit:

Pixabay

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