Have you ever been depressed? I’m not talking about one or two blue days. I’m talking about soul crushing depths of despair, in a hole so deep that the sun, even light is a myth. If not, you may be one of the people that sees, but doesn’t really see someone who is.
It’s easy to judge and give advice. “It’s all in your head.” “If you just see a doctor, you’ll be fine.” And there’s my personal favourite, “tough love”, as in: “I’m not going to talk to you until you get your act together and see someone,” punishing you for being sick. It’s as if they think that the depressed are stupid, or willful. They’re not. But until you’ve been in that dark, you just don’t know. You don’t know about feeling paralyzed about pretty much everything. Just getting out of bed and feeding yourself is an effort on those days when all you want to do is face the wall and sleep it all away. You feel like a burden on your friends, your family, because you feel like you’re a burden even to yourself. You don’t believe that you could possibly be loved or cared about, because you feel like you don’t deserve it. In that situation, it’s as impossible to call a doctor as it is for most of us to scale Mt. Everest.
Patience. This is what the depressed need. Love. Support. Just let them know you’re there, if they need to talk. And then really be there. Knowing that someone truly cares can help get them through a particularly bad patch. Ask them how you can help, but don’t be put off if there isn’t anything at the moment. Maybe make some easy food, to make sure they eat. Offer to make calls for them. Just be there. Don’t let a friend or family member slip through your fingers when you could, literally, save a life.