How to Treat your Depressed Friends

Ok. Being that I myself live with depression,  I have been very defensive about explaining what has been happening lately with the untimely deaths of some people around us. It's hard to accept but these loved individuals were afflicted with a chronic condition that they have now chosen to take the path of least resistance in their lives by ending it. Don't kill the messenger, it's the most simplistic way to explain it. In other words, all they want is the pain to end. Their reasoning and justifications are not for us to understand. Don't take it personal, it's not you. It's the easier way out, literally.

Now I'm seeing well intentioned posts that wonderful people are offering a shoulder to cry on. We love you very much but...

1. Depressed people don't want to stay there. It is a painful place to be. So unless you're a professional, talking about it with you is not the way to help us long term. Sometimes we're in a dark place and we don't even know why.

2. Depression is not a mood. It is not a feeling. It cannot be relieved with a vent or a rant. It's well-meaning to empathize but it may end up being toxic for both of us. You can't be sick enough to make us well. It is darkness. So being a light is the best way to bring someone out of the dark. So you can't jump into a hole to get us both out.

Now, your intentions are great and we love you so please know:

3. It's not personal. How we feel has nothing, nothing to do with you. So being with you cannot be our solution or savior. It's not fair to you to pull you into our darkness. Just be light, be a path to light. Sometimes we'll reject the light, please respect that too. If we can't be in the light, let us go. But don't let us stay there.

4. Pity Parties Suck! So please don't make it hard for us to be with you. We both can't be negative and feel better. It's like the blind leading the blind. Let's not do that.

5. Being sad is not depression. Some people are going through a phase. You can't diagnose it in someone else, just be a friend to your friend if they're having a tough time. Tough times can be a prerequisite to depression. It's like living the shorter term tough times until it hurts, long term with no help in sight. Everyone needs a friend so if you see someone having a tough time, see how you can help with a solution or resource.

6. Also, being a toxic person may be an subconscious action to someone, but in trying to understand depression, should be a deep enough conversation for all of us to be intentional in how our energy is given and received. Pay attention to your own energy, you may be a trigger for negativity that spirals downward.

Days may be hard, but let's try not to stay there. A bad day doesn't make for depression.

5.  Depression is a pain that we cannot explain. All a depressed person wants is to not be in pain anymore. That's the part that's so hard to understand. Depression is a chronic condition, not a mood easily changed.

I find myself on the end of a lot of toxic conversations because I'm easy to talk to. Truth is, it's draining. But I've learned how to protect my energy in regards to others, some aren't so fortunate. If you can't take care of yourself and how you feel, you can't help us. Take care of yourself first, check on us when you can handle it.

We'll want to be alone sometimes, respect it. Just check in once in a while, invite us for coffee or take a walk. Not to talk, but just be there.

We want love, understanding and patience, so please don't try to fix us. Just be a friend, if we need to vent, listen for a little, then steer the convo positively.

We love you and thank you for your support and well intentions. Best of all, Thank you for being a friend.