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Given that a good portion of the population struggles with mental health issues, there’s a good chance you know someone who could use your support and understanding when it comes to living with depression.
If you’re looking for advice on the best way to do that, these 15 people who have been there, done that, burned the t-shirt have some great advice.
15. Be persistent.
Be persistent in your efforts. When I was extremely depressed, sometimes returning a text was more than I could handle. Then I would beat myself up mentally for being shitty and alienating the few friends i had. If they just kept sending me dumb memes i would feel this sense of relief like, maybe i didnt blow it and tank the relationship forever.
14. Check on them.
Be there. Check on them. Say hi. Send dumb memes you know will make them smile. Anything to let them remember they do have a friend. Even when they act like they dont want to be bothered. Not pushy, but just present. And be present in the moment when you’re with them. Much of depression is heavily impacted by feelings of isolation and loneliness. Dont compound that by bringing it to the forefront when spending time with them.
Edit: this is my most upvoted and my first gold and silvers are here also. I just wanted to relay what works. What we all want, but dont want to admit, to ourselves, or anyone else. Wyld Styllyns forever. Be excellent to one another.
13. Don’t stop being cool with it.
Just be cool with it, and don’t stop being cool with it. A lot of people either run immediately or get tired of it and leave down the line. Just sticking around and letting them know it’s cool and you understand is really helpful. Depression takes a lot of forms so ask specifically what helps each person.
12. Just be there.
Be there, please, be there
Edit: Thank you for my first silver kind stranger and thank you for the many upvotes. I know it’s a short answer but I promise it’s filled with feelings
11. Ask what you can do.
Check on them, and offer to listen. Be present enough to learn the ways their depression manifests because it’s different for everyone. Ask them what they do when they’re depressed and ask what you can do to help. Learn what kind of things will give them even the smallest boost. For me, it’s a trip to the bookstore. To them it may be as easy as getting them taco bell. Use that as a way to get them to talk a bit, get them feeling like the world is okay for a while.
Equally as important is making sure that you take any talk of suicide seriously. If something is off and they’ve been talking about suicide, call the police. They’d rather do a wellness check than remove a body any day. Even if the person begs you not to, they need help. If they are considering suicide, they need professional help. They might hate you for a while, but in the long run it will help them.
Also, props on being such a good friend and asking how you can support them.
10. It made me feel needed.
When I was depressed, I never wanted to hang out with my friends because I thought I was useless. Something a friend did was ask me to go on errands with her. Made it seem like I was doing HER a favor. Things like “can you go to the mall with me to pick out an interview shirt” or “can you help me assemble my dresser” or anything else you can think of. This made me feel needed, and since there was a defined activity, I didn’t have to put my “mask” on.
EDIT: I didn’t mean to discount talking and messaging your friends to let them know you’re there for them! If you find it difficult to get your friend to open up, my way is a good plan C. Plan A is professional treatment, plan B is letting your friend know you’re there.
9. Don’t stop inviting them.
Don’t stop inviting them to things. They’ll go eventually.
8. Let them know you’re on their side.
I’m going through this and have a doctors appointment in a couple of days because of it. Some things that people have done that’s helped: Make yourself known. A simple, quick “hey how are you” is good enough most days. It helps to know that someone in the world is on your side and wants you to survive. Last week it was bad and I couldn’t get out of bed. A friend of mine came over, talked me into getting up and we went for a walk around the block. The fresh air and exercise helped, I wouldn’t have been able to do that alone. Food! I couldn’t eat, everything in my fridge spoiled, I couldn’t get myself to give a shit. Someone brought me a bunch of food over. It was so helpful. Be there but don’t be pushy. The simple act of walking outside to get your mail can be utterly exhausting when you’re depressed, if not impossible. I would still be in bed if people didn’t take my hand and walk with me, or bring me food. I’ve also had people give up on me completely. So you’re a good person for asking this, most people don’t.
7. Don’t try to fix them.
First understand you can’t fix your friend’s depression. No matter what you do, you can’t make the depression go away. What you can do, however, is make it less bad. So don’t try to fix it, just try to make it feel less bad, it helps a ton.
Be there and listen to your friend. Also allow him/her to be depressed around you, don’t scold him/her her for being unmotivated or never cheering up, don’t force them to pretend to be ok for your sake. Other than that, treat them like any other friend. Hang out, tell them of your troubles, listen to their problems. Really, being there despite the depression makes all the difference in the world.
6. A little fresh air goes a long way.
If you can get them outside being active that can possibly help a little. Don’t try to force them though. You could try framing it as you need someone to come hiking with you and they’d be doing you a favour, often people with depression incorrectly think they are a burden on everyone them and making them feel wanted or useful may help them stop feeling that way. Also, I second what a lot of other people are saying about just being there for them when they want to reach out or talk. That’s a huge one.
5. He invites me to do everything.
I am prone to long periods of depression where I just work, sleep, and lie around.
My best friend invites me to EVERYTHING. Every weekend: “u/stopcounting, we’re getting together some people to play video games at 5, come over if you want!”
I almost never did. Literally, for every twenty invites, I might show up once. But he kept inviting me, all the time. If I say I’ll go and drop out at the last minute, he’s never mad. Just says” maybe next time!”
Eventually, when I started to come out of it, I would get the invite and actually go. It was amazing for me, because reentering a social life after dropping out for months at a time is really hard when everyone has given up on inviting you.
He says he knows I’ll almost never come and not to feel any pressure , but wants me to know I’m always welcome.
Thats the best kind of friend you can have.
Edit: goddammit guys, now I need to show this to him and he’s going to know my reddit username. Fuckers.
Edit 2: I no longer live near my friend, which is sad, but I am happily married and have a fulfilling job and don’t get depressed anywhere near as often. He just had a baby a couple weeks ago and is embarking on new life adventures so yay for my friend and his awesome wife!
4. Offer company but not advice.
Offer to bring them some takeout or coffee.
Offer a chat or a hangout – mention that they don’t have to explain anything and that you will be there if they need you.
Don’t downplay their problems or offer advice- just listen.
3. Let them have control.
From a psychology viewpoint always support them and never make them feel like they don’t have control. Don’t try to be the hero though. Talk to them more than once about seeking professional help because that person will be able to analyze each unique individual to help them. If things get too far with the friend in terms of life threats or actual suicide attempts you are not the bad guy for telling their parents/ somebody who can step in and get them the right treatment.
Edit: Thank you guys for the questions and support on this comment. Also, thank you to others who have commented with added great advice. I want to point out that I am not a health professional. I have extensive psychology knowledge from several psychology classes I’ve taken in high school and colleges along with firsthand experience of an ex GF who had depression for the five years we dated and more years prior to that.
Edit: somebody pointed out it is important to remember that actions that a depressed person does is not your fault and you should never hold yourself accountable for that if your intentions are to help. This is why it is suggested to get them to a professional instead of trying to cure issues yourself.
Also, in my experience the word “fix” is one of the worst words to use while talking with somebody with depression. It implies they are broken and this is not the case.
2. Don’t let them say no.
I get depressive spells often, and the one thing I know would help me, but unfortunately no one ever does this for me 🙁 is to flat order me out of the house, we’re going, no is not an acceptable answer, and you will do something to break the monotony and make you feel better.
It may or may not work for them, but I know it’d work for me, but like I said no one ever does this
1. Comfort food never hurts.
Food. Bring them a poutine (or whatever comfort food) and stay a while. Watch a stupid movie with them.
The most important thing is to just be there!
Do have advice? Share yours in the comments!