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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Professional Athletes Are People, Too

How two NBA players are working to fight the stigma around mental health.

On February 17, 2018, DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors star basketball player, tweeted this out:

DeRozan was in California, preparing to play in the NBA All-Star game, with no obvious struggle to explain this tweet. He was having a career year and leading his team to their best season in franchise history. One of the best players in the league, he had plenty of money, fame, and success. And yet, DeRozan openly admitted that, despite his seemingly perfect life, he still struggles with depression. Two weeks later, Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love published an article on The Players Tribune website entitled “Everyone Is Going Through Something.” In it, he detailed his own experiences with panic attacks that led him to stop neglecting his mental health and talk to a therapist.

In his piece, Love revealed that DeRozan’s tweet helped him open up and share his story. After all, athletes aren’t used to talking about their mental health struggles; Love writes in his article that “I’d never heard of any pro athlete talking about mental health, and I didn’t want to be the only one.”

Having DeRozan be honest about his depression must have been a huge relief to Love, as it showed that he wasn’t alone in dealing with his mental health among his peers. This is why it’s especially important that two athletes revealed that they regularly struggle with their mental health. In sports, depression is seen as a lack of toughness, a crutch that can be taken advantage of.

Love writes that “I didn’t want to look weak. Honestly, I just didn’t think I needed [to see a therapist]. It’s like the playbook said — figure it out on your own, like everyone else around me always had.”

Just as athletes want to play through injuries no matter what, they have also grown up believing that sharing their inner problems will counteract their macho, tough image and make them look weak and vulnerable instead.

This stigma around mental health trickles down to outside viewers: little kids who see their favorite NBA players as superheroes and regular people who may deal with depression but feel isolated because no one talks about it openly. This is why having two athletes go against the mold, fight against the “figure it out on your own” culture in sports, and share their struggles, is so important.

Not only is it difficult for them to be vulnerable enough to share their struggles, but it also shows millions of fans who also struggle with their mental health that they aren’t alone and that their circumstances are very normal: According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experience mental health problems each year. Love and DeRozan sharing their own struggles will help lessen the stigma around dealing with mental health problems.

I applaud DeRozan and Love for being open and vulnerable enough to express their mental health stories. Knowing that millions of people would know something so sensitive and personal about them must have been very difficult. Their platform as professional athletes will hopefully improve how mental health is discussed, both in traditionally macho athletic settings as well as among the general public. Perhaps most importantly, kids who look up to these sports stars as heroes and role models will hopefully learn that mental health struggles are normal, that talking about mental health is extremely helpful, and that anyone and everyone can have down moments in which they need outside help.

DeRozan would later follow up his tweet and say that “no matter how indestructible we look like we are, we’re all human at the end of the day.” Hopefully, with his and Love’s experiences, more people can treat others with respect and kindness, knowing that everyone, even superheroic sports stars, is going through something.

Cover Image Credit: @kevinlove / Instagram

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10 Thoughts You Have When You Get A Waist Trainer

No pain no gain.

I bought a waist trainer recently after hearing how you could easily shave inches off your waist with it. Here are some thoughts you have when you get a waist trainer.

1. I could definitely look like Kim Kardashian.

2. It’s not going on.

3. I feel my ribs being crushed in.

4. This is definitely helping me poo.

5. Why do there need to be so many hooks??

6. *after two hours* Wow I see results!

7. False alarm.

8. I could totally wear this outside my clothes.

9. How did the oppressed women of the 18th century wear boned corsets??

10. I hate how I love the way I look in this.

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