If you’ve ever found yourself wondering how you can better care for you friends suffering from depression, this post is for you.
I feel like there is a lot of content online about how someone with depression can get better. Or at least try to feel better and appear better.
But there’s so little about what the rest of us can do. We don’t expect someone with the flu to get better by themselves. So why would we expect that out of someone suffering from a mental illness?
That’s what inspired me to write this post. I want us to take a look at ourselves and ask:
What can I do for them?
Before I get started, please make sure you’ve read my disclaimers if you haven’t already. I am definitely not a healthcare professional.
I am, however, someone who suffers from a variety of mental health disorders. I have been diagnosed by a physician with depression and other mental illnesses.
That’s where this info is coming from: my personal experience.
With that said, here are my recommendations for caring for your loved ones with depression:
Let them know you’re there for them.
I see this every time someone says or posts about their mental health struggles:
“Let me know if you need anything!”
And of course, the intent is good. They mean well. But when I was in my deepest pit of depression, I didn’t know what I needed. I was empty, hopeless. That made it impossible for me to tell anyone else anything at all.
Instead, if you know your friend is suffering, be proactive. Let them know you’re there for them, but also physically be there for them. Take them a small meal or a cup of coffee. Text them or give them a call just to let them know you care for them. This Twitter thread of a woman who was experiencing deep grief is one of my favorite examples of this in action.
These small acts of kindness can make a world of difference.
If you’re in a position to do so (like a parent, significant other, or even close roommate), you may even be able to help them with finding care. Sit with them and help them find a therapist or even an online helpline.
Check In Often
I touched on this briefly in that last section, but it deserves to be repeated. If someone is far enough into a depressive spiral, they probably need to be reminded there are people who care for them.
Even if it’s just a quick text letting them know you’re thinking of them, send it. And send it often.
Personally, when my depression was at it’s worst, I was convinced I was unloved. I mean, what is there to love when you’re a sad, mopey creature who can’t leave their cave?
It was my friends, family, and coworkers reaching out that helped me take the first step back from that brink of despair.
Remind them they are not their depression
Depression can swallow you whole. You start to forget what it’s like to not be depressed. It becomes a part of you. At least, it feels like it does.
Especially in our culture where depression is often heralded as a link to creativity or success, this is so very important.
Remind your friends that they are not their depression. Remind them that this feeling is only temporary.
Sure, it may feel like they will be wallowing in this deep pit of nothingness forever. But that’s just the depression talking.
So please, speak up. Let them know: it will get better. You may not know when and you may not know how. But no matter how long the storm rages, the sun always breaks through the clouds.
The most important thing I can recommend when you are dealing with someone suffering from depression:
Be a good friend.
Show them kindness; show them love; show them care.
If you’re looking for a bit more info about mental health, I recommend these posts here on GamerGlo:
If you’d like to chat more about this subject, I’m always open to a discussion over on Twitter.
For now, keep gloing.