Language is powerful in itself, but a depressed person will read into what you say, take it deeply personally, and analyse it for hours until it confirms every bad thing we think about ourselves. Sometimes it gets too much and we just come along to that big party/dinner with friends/lunch with your parents. We’re not being flaky, we just don’t feel like we can do it today. Please don’t endlessly question why we’re feeling so rubbish. We can feel great and think we’ve finally got through this one day, then find ourselves in a pretty dark place (in our minds. Medication can mess things up for a bit, as can, well, just being depressed. Each reason our life is brilliant feels like a little stab in our heart, asking: ‘why aren’t you happy? We feel awful about that, and we already feel like self-obsessed oversensitive arseholes for being miserable with our comparatively brilliant lives. And we don’t need anyone confirming our belief that we’re sh*tty people.
If we say there’s no reason or we don’t know, we mean it. We don’t just need to turn on the light) at 2am the next night. It still feels like there’s a lot of stigma around mental illness and we’re scared of being judged. All easier said than done when your brain’s telling you to stay in bed in the dark and never, ever leave your room.
Depression doesn’t always have to be permanent, but a commitment to mental health is a lifelong thing. We’re not dark and edgy, we’ve got a mental illness. Yes, depression can mute and swamp our personality and make it like it’s taken us over. Please take a moment to appreciate that we’ve opened up and told you what we’re dealing with. You’re reeeeeally not helping by reminding us of all the things we’re failing at doing.
But you need to remember that we’re so much more than our depressed selves. We get that hanging out in bed with a very irritable, grumpy person trying to push you away emotionally isn’t the fun way to spend your Sunday. Please bear with us and focus on the hilarious and brilliant person we are when we’re not in a depressive slump. If we’ve mentioned that our depression worsens when we’re sleep-deprived or don’t exercise for a while, it’d be pretty brilliant if you can help us stay on the right track. So we seriously respect and love that you’re able to support us through all the sh*t bits and love us for who we are underneath our depression. For more information on mental illness visit Time To Change, Mind and Rethink.
It’s perfectly okay for us to have a therapist, or even a particular friend who we know will understand. You don’t need to stay in a relationship with someone who isn’t right for you because you’re scared of how we’ll react. A painful breakup can cause you to fall into depression. They’re still the person you fancy and (hopefully) love, they’re just dealing with a brain that keeps f*cking them over.We’re fine with explaining how it feels to you, but it’s really not our job to educate you on mental illness and what causes depression. I don’t cry 24/7 and I doubt that many depressed people do. We know it’s not a big deal that we’ve lost our socks. It’s just our depression muddies up any excitement or joy we’d usually feel. So don’t assume we’ve magically cured ourselves of depression because we’ve told you we’ve been fine for the last few weeks. Actually expressing that we might need medication is deeply, deeply scary.
We don’t want to burden you and there are some things we need a professional for.
Again, you don’t need to protect us or stay 100% positive all the time to help us through.