It’s the being asked what’s wrong? And you don’t even have an answer. Because in retrospect, nothing is wrong. Your life is good. But at the same time, that nothing is everything consuming you. Because it’s just feeling. An off feeling you can’t shake for long periods of time.
And when someone asks what can I do? There’s nothing really they can say or do to change how you feel inside.
It’s two forces being pulled against each other because you want them to stay, but you also push them away because in your mind, you are some burden or a bother. You think you are dragging them down also. And no one deserves that. No one deserves to worry about you and you don’t want to put that one them.
So the easiest thing to do is pretend everything is fine.
You say fine and they walk away, and under your breath will be the words that go unheard whispering, “please stay.”
How do you understand someone who suffers or just lives with depression?
How can you detect if they are lying because they think it’s better for you and when something is really wrong?
How do you stay close to someone who wants to push you away?
And how do you understand something you simply can’t unless you experience it?
1. Understand they aren’t choosing to be sad.
They don’t wake up one day and think, “I really want this day to emotionally drain the shit out of me to a point of tears I can’t explain.”
There are just some days that will hit them so hard and when it does, understand there isn’t a solution to it.
Depression is like a storm you can’t run away from. Because the further you run, the faster it’ll chase you. So the best thing you can do is just stand there and face it head on. Let it come through destroying everything in its path, but then the storm ends. And you’re left to pick up the pieces. And a new day begins, that’s a little brighter than the last and you carry on. That’s depression.
2. Understand how afraid they are for you.
They don’t want to burden you with their own problems. They feel guilty. They don’t want you to worry. They don’t want you to look at them any different or perceive them as weak.
They consider this their greatest weakness. And if it doesn’t destroy them, it will destroy everyone and every relationship around them.
Just reassure them that who they are at their worst and lowest, isn’t an accurate depiction of them really.
3. Understand how sorry they are.
If they trust you and let you in and completely break down, understand how horrible they feel about it.
They are going to apologize too often and think they don’t deserve someone like you in their life.
They try so hard to be strong.
4. Understand when they push you away is when they need you most.
People with depression push others away because they think they are better off alone. They think you are better off. They convince themselves no one will understand this thing they struggle too, so it’s best to face it alone.
But the greatest company comes when you don’t want any. That moment you push someone away and instead of turning, they pull you in and remind you, you aren’t alone, it’s everything.
5. Understand when their mind is in a depressed state, nothing they’re telling themselves is true.
There is a stream of phrases that go through their mind, in moments they are depressed they believe it.
“No one loves you.”
“They feel bad for you.”
“You are a burden to those around you.”
“This is your fault.”
“Everyone will leave.”
“You are alone.”
“It will only get worse.”
In these moments, just tell them they matter, tell them you love them, tell them you aren’t leaving. Tell them it isn’t their fault. And it will get better.
Demons within ourselves are the most difficult to overcome, but that’s what makes these people so beautiful, their ability to overcome it and see the light in everyone and everything around them.
Because it’s only when you’ve learned to live in darkness do you appreciate the light.
6. Understand they aren’t depressed all the time.
Depression comes in waves. The best day of their life can be followed by the worse and vice verse. Depression is something coexists within you, never fully going away, but hiding in the shadows.
Sometimes people with depression come across as the happiest, kindest people in the world. And it’s not that they are faking it, it’s that on their good day they really are that happy. It’s just those bad days that teach them to appreciate it more.
7. Understand what they mean when they say, “I’m tired.”
It’s not tired because they haven’t slept. Even though that’s probably true too. It’s an emotional exhaustion of feeling everything in life so deeply.
It’s the want and need to shut it off. But not even knowing how because that’s who they are.
For people with depression, tired isn’t something sleep can solve, it’s something they live with every day. But every once in awhile, they have good days that give them hope and strength on their worst.
8. Understand the power you have in their lives.
A kind text message. A snap chat. A like. A tag. A message. A conversation. An hour set aside or just visit. A compliment. These little interactions can shift their entire day. Because it’s the people they love that give them strength to get through the bad days.
9. Understand how much they love you.
Even in those moments where they might not be the people you recognize, they are still them. And they’ll say thank you too much and apologize too often and show you appreciation, not just because you choose to be in their life, but you choose to accept this part of them they struggle to.
It is through your love and acceptance they are reminded to love themselves.