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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Yes, I Had A Stroke And I'm Only 20

Sometimes bad things happen to good people.
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Recently, I read an article on Cosmo that was written by a woman that had a stroke at the ripe old age of 23. For those of you who don't know, that really doesn't happen. Young people don't have strokes. Some do, but it's so incredibly uncommon that it rarely crosses most people's minds. Her piece was really moving, and I related a lot -- because I had a stroke at 20.

It started as a simple headache. I didn't think much of it because I get headaches pretty often. At the time, I worked for my parents, and I texted my mom to tell her that I'd be late to work because of the pain. I had never experienced a headache like that, but I figured it still wasn't something to worry about. I went about my normal routine, and it steadily got worse. It got to the point that I literally threw up from the pain. My mom told me to take some Tylenol, but I couldn't get to our kitchen. I figured that since I was already in the bathroom, I would just take a shower and hope that the hot steam would relax my muscles, and get rid of my headache. So I turned the water on in the shower, and I waited for it to get hot.

At this point, I was sweating. I've never been that warm in my life. My head was still killing me. I was sitting on the floor of the bathroom, trying to at least cope with the pain. Finally, I decided that I needed to go to the hospital. I picked up my phone to call 911, but I couldn't see the screen. I couldn't read anything. I laid down on the floor and tried to swipe from the lock screen to the emergency call screen, but I couldn't even manage that. My fine motor skills were completely gone. My fingers wouldn't cooperate, even though I knew what buttons needed to be pressed. Instead of swiping to the emergency call screen, I threw my phone across the room. "Okay," I thought, "Large muscle groups are working. Small ones are not".

I tried getting up. That also wasn't happening. I was so unstable that I couldn't stay standing. I tried turning off the running water of the shower, but couldn't move the faucet. Eventually, I gave up on trying to move anywhere. "At what point do I just give up and lie on the floor until someone finds me?" That was the point. I ended up lying on the floor for two hours until my dad came home and found me.

During that two hours, I couldn't hear. My ears were roaring, not even ringing. I tried to yell, but I couldn't form a sentence. I was simply stuck, and couldn't do anything about it. I still had no idea what was going on.

When the ambulance finally got there, they put me on a stretcher and loaded me into the back. "Are you afraid of needles or anything?" asked one EMT. "Terrified," I responded, and she started an IV without hesitation. To this day, I don't know if that word actually came out of my mouth, but I'm so glad she started the IV. She started pumping pain medicine, but it didn't seem to be doing anything.

We got to the hospital, and the doctors there were going to treat me for a migraine and send me on my merry way. This was obviously not a migraine. When I could finally speak again, they kept asking if I was prone to migraines. "I've never had a migraine in my whole life," I would say. "Do you do any drugs?" they would ask. "No," I repeated over and over. At this point, I was fading in and out of consciousness, probably from the pain or the pain medicine.

At one point, I heard the doctors say that they couldn't handle whatever was wrong with me at our local hospital and that I would need to be flown somewhere. They decided on University of Maryland in Baltimore. My parents asked if I wanted them to wait with me or start driving, so I had them leave.

The helicopter arrived soon after, and I was loaded into it. 45 minutes later, I was in Baltimore. That was the last thing I remember. The next thing I remember was being in the hospital two weeks later. I had a drain in my head, a central port, and an IV. I honestly didn't know what had happened to me.

As it turns out, I was born with a blood vessel malformation called an AVM. Blood vessels and arteries are supposed to pass blood to one another smoothly, and mine simply weren't. I basically had a knot of blood vessels in my brain that had swelled and almost burst. There was fluid in my brain that wouldn't drain, which was why my head still hurt so bad. The doctors couldn't see through the blood and fluid to operate, so they were simply monitoring me at that point.

When they could finally see, they went in to embolize my aneurysm and try to kill the AVM. After a successful procedure, my headache was finally starting to subside. It had gone from a 10 on the pain scale (which I don't remember), to a 6 (which was when I had started to be conscious), and then down to a 2.

I went to rehab after I was discharged from the hospital, I went to rehab. There, I learned simple things like how to walk and balance, and we tested my fine motor skills to make sure that I could still play the flute. Rehab was both physically and emotionally difficult. I was constantly exhausted.

I still have a few lingering issues from the whole ordeal. I have a tremor in one hand, and I'm mostly deaf in one ear. I still get headaches sometimes, but that's just my brain getting used to regular blood flow. I sleep a lot and slur my words as I get tired. While I still have a few deficits, I'm lucky to even be alive.

Cover Image Credit: Neve McClymont

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Why Jameela Jamil's 'i weigh' Movement Is Important

It's 2018... Shouldn't we stop placing a woman's worth on her appearance?

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If you've been following pop culture I'm sure the name Jameela Jamil has popped once on your screens. She plays the ever flawed but lovable Tahani in NBC's The Good Place. But what she's been getting attention lately for is her campaign 'i weigh.'

'i weigh' is a "movement for us to feel valuable and see how amazing we are, and look beyond the flesh on our bones," as the Instagram bio of the account reads. Jamil has been quite candid with her opinion about her own struggles with weight and body image while also calling out influencers like the Kardashians for promoting a culture where a woman's worth is based on her figure. She has openly criticized the very casual body shaming advertisements that are found even at Times Square by companies that promote waist slimmers, appetite suppressing lollies etc…

Her recent interview with Channel 4 News has been trending on different social media platforms, with the companies who she criticises hitting back with comments on her own figure as a hypocrite. To say she responds with grace and humor is an understatement, Jamil has been very candid about how much these notions of how a woman's body should look like affected her, with her Instagram detailing how her younger self would have scrutinized one of her recent photoshoots (which honestly, I can't even see cause girl look flawless).

Her honesty and sincerity to promote women to love themselves for their achievements and struggles have gotten the attention of the internet with nearly 140k followers on the @i_weigh Instagram handle and 348k followers on her own Instagram handle.

The 'i weigh' Instagram handle is honestly the most positive and uplifting pages, with everyday women and celebs alike submitting unedited pictures of themselves with a list of things they define them and not the oh so perfect body. With women of various ages, races and sizes participating Jamil have tapped into something many of us forget to do in this crazy fast-paced world… loving yourself.

With her uplifting message of loving yourselves and celebrating each other and not placing your worth on your physical experience irregardless of your gender, Jameela Jamil is the type of woman you should follow. It also helps that she's ridiculously funny and wonderful and so easy to love!


Jameela on what she weighshttps://www.instagram.com/jameelajamilofficial/?hl=en


The post that started everything...https://www.instagram.com/jameelajamilofficial/?hl=en

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