Depression isn’t meant to be faced alone. Maybe you don’t need a therapist, but you do need a friend.
Depression by its very nature is lonely and isolating. I personally have spent many a day sitting in my bed by myself, not talking to anyone, texting anyone, or being around anyone.
But depression is rarely surmounted alone.
There’s a reason we, as humans, don’t hatch out of eggs and fly away. We need each other. We need family. We need friends. Life was designed to be this way so we wouldn’t have to do it all on our own.melissa b. howell
When we’re feeling depressed, though, we rarely reach out to others.
Perhaps we tell ourselves:
- “I don’t want to burden them.”
- “I don’t want to be negative.”
- “They’re probably busy and don’t have time for me.”
- “I don’t want to let anyone know I’m feeling this way.”
- “I don’t want them to think I’m weak.”
The thing is, your friends don’t want to see you hurting. They WANT to help you! Most people are compassionate and want to help carry your burdens, even a little bit. Even if it just means all they can do is listen.
Talking with others who have also experienced depression can be particularly helpful. Just knowing that you are not alone is a huge comfort.
Here’s other good news: your depression is unlikely to spread to your friends. If you’re worried about making them depressed, too, you need not worry. Your friends who are generally happy will stay that way.
In fact, having enough friends with a healthy mood can double your chances of recovering from depression over a 6-12 month period. (Five or more healthy friends can produce this effect).
Sometimes when you’re depressed, friends and family members don’t understand. It can be painful when this happens. In these cases, it is beneficial to reach out to a professional counselor or therapist.
Also, realize that just because one person didn’t understand, it doesn’t mean that NOBODY will understand.
When thinking about who to talk to about your depression, think a little outside the box. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to any close friends, what about your Great Aunt Fran? She might have some wisdom to impart.
What about a church leader, or another mom on the soccer team? Sometimes it feels less risky confiding in someone you’re not super close to.
Don’t carry the burden of depression alone. It’s not what you were meant to do.melissa b. howell
You could call a friend and start out by saying something like, “Hey, I need to tell you something, but you don’t have to fix it. I just want someone to listen. I’m really struggling right now….”
I know it takes a lot of courage to do this. If you don’t feel like calling, then you could text a similar message.
Getting your feelings out into the open doesn’t mean you always have to talk about your depression, or that it will constantly be the topic of conversation. But it can help you feel more comfortable around your friends.
You won’t be worried about letting something slip, or have to explain doctor’s appointments or medications. Your friends will understand why you might not want to get together or go out as much, and you won’t have to make up excuses.
(Here’s a great article on friendship and mental health).
And if you’re reading this right now and you’re not depressed, but think someone you love might be, here are some ideas for starting a conversation with them.
Is there someone you could call or text right now? Give it a try. You just might feel better.
Be sure to read the other articles in this series dealing with situational depression.
How are you doing? No, really. How is your life going right now? Take my Life Assessment and get your Life Score. You’ll get customized suggestions and links to resources to help you optimize your home and your brain based on your score. Click here now to take your Life Assessment!