I have created a blog at http://gonnamumma.wordpress.com which shows my journey through the depths of depression. This is one of my blog entries.
My all time favorite movies is The Shawshank Redemption. I love it as it shows how intelligence can get you far. It also shows how the support of a friend can make you move mountains, but in this case build an escape route. You don’t know how other people react to your support but suffering depression made me loose a lot of friends. Because I just didn’t go out, not that I didn’t want to but was literally petrified and because I didn’t want my friends to see the person I became the phone calls slowly stopped. I guess if you can’t support someone through their dark times you are not truly a friend. And supporting a friend with a mental illness like depression is hard. I know as I am living it.
My husband has been amazing and has pushed me to do things that I can’t believe I have achieved. But though I feel I’m getting there the cloud is always hovering over me. Having support of friends is what I really need and I miss going out and having a laugh. It’s sad that people I thought were friends are only now Facebook friends who don’t know the person I have become. I don’t post anything on FB as I feel if you want to know what is happening in a persons life you should pick up the phone and call. It’s sad that the friends who post quotes about supporting people with mental illness don’t really practice it in their daily lives cause if they did they would still be my friend.
I used to be a teacher and I had a student who was suffering depression. While I would be supportive of her I would think in the back of my mind “girl just snap out of it you have a great family and life why are you so sad”. I’m glad I never said it and am ashamed that I thought it. Being depressed is like someone throwing cement on you. You want to lift it up but feel like you can’t. It’s a weight that you didn’t realize was heavy an something that you just can’t get over with meds.
I am fortunate to have found a group of women online that we share our struggles with. But I yearn for a friend that I can sit and have a coffee with and be honest about my struggle. I’m sick of having to wear a mask that everything is ok.
So if someone tells you they are suffering from depression
Don’t tell them to snap out of it
Don’t tell them that there are worse illnesses to have
Don’t trivialize their illness
Don’t tell them to take a chill pill
Don’t think it is not serious
Don’t think that that pill will fix it
Don’t think that a smile means they are better
Don’t leave them, thinking that’s what they want
Don’t think I should just give them space
Don’t patronize them
Don’t think this is too hard as its them that is going through this.
Don’t make jokes about mental illness
Don’t call people names like psycho in front of them
Do be there
Do tell them that you are only a phone call away
Do take the time to visit them
Do send SMS telling them that you don’t know what they are going through but are here if they need you
Do invite them for coffee even though they decline every invitation
Do make an effort to be their friends
Do try and make them laugh
Do things you would do if you didn’t know they were depressed
Do ensure that they know they are supported
Do try and make them laugh with jokes
Do make future plans with them even if it is a dinner in a months time when you are not as busy.
Do listen to their cries and frustrations.
Do just be there for them.
If they are your friends why should depression stop you from staying friends.
And to the mothers group that slowly stopped inviting me. I found a new mums group and while I was too afraid to tell them my struggles they have listened to when I did tell them little clues to my struggles and they are still around. Depression is not something you catch but can be helped if you are there.
Posted anonymously, 30th May 2014