Little things to do for the depressed person in your life
Depression is real, debilitating, and tricky to deal with. Chances are that you know someone with the condition, but are hesitant to 'open Pandora's box', as it were. You're right - it's probably not in your or their best interest to go there. But that doesn't mean you can't look out for them, and from what I've experienced, the kindness of friends and acquaintances goes a long way in the battle against depression.
Some things you can do
- Get in touch with them every now and then. Even if it's just to say 'hey what's up' or 'haven't heard from you in a while, how's things?' Depression saps ones energy like nobody's business...when a person can't muster the energy to go downstairs and eat, socialising is going to be very low on their priority list! So initiate contact - and don't be offended if they don't reply.
- If you are close friends with them, let them know you are there to talk to if they ever feel like it.
- Counter their pessimistic views with optimistic facts. Solid, relevant facts, not vague, feel-good adages. So a response to 'I've ruined everything' could be 'you have messed up X, but you still have Y and Z!' 'I could have done X' - 'yes, but on the bright side, you've done Y.' 'I'm a terrible person' - 'you feel that way, but I think you're a great X. So does A.' The key is to acknowledge their feelings as valid, then show them an alternative viewpoint.
- Let them know you care about them. Even if it's a 'you look a bit poorly, would you like me to make a doctor's appointment for you?' Even it's a small, kind gesture like getting their post for them. Or saving them a seat. Or offering to eat lunch together.
- Offer to hug them. I don't know why this works but it gets me EVERY DAMN TIME. Word.
So I was lying in bed, thinking about how lucky I was to have all these loyal, awesome people in my life...the very least I can do is try to pass it on. As you-know-who correctly say, 'every little helps' - for someone grasping at straws, every straw matters.