I write this blog not only for sufferers of depression, but also for their friends and family so that they can better understand what sufferers go through, and how to help them. I do my best to explain simple helpful techniques and advise on what comments and actions may do more harm than good. I write this blog so that people have a bit more of a chance of understanding depression, both those who suffer from it and those who do not.
I don’t write all this advice because I think people are mean and thoughtless and don’t bother to try. If that was the case then I doubt my advice would sway them. I write this advice because understanding depression is hard! If it wasn’t so difficult to do then the advice wouldn’t really be needed, would it? I mean, hell, even we sufferers don’t understand what’s going through our heads most of the time!
Basically, what I’m trying to say is “It’s okay if you don’t know what to do.”
When it comes right down to it each person is responsible for their own selves, and those of us who suffer depression must learn how to deal with it, what works and what doesn’t, who to go to for help and comfort, and who to turn to on happier days to remind us how awesome life can be, and all the people in between.
It’s not your job to fix things for us.
It’s not your responsibility to make sure we never fall.
And when we do fall, it’s not your fault, nor should you magically know how to get us up again.
I have a lot of friends who I love who don’t know how to deal with my depression. Some of them may not even have told me. Some of them may still be feeling bad that they can’t help me, or that they “aren’t there for me”. Well they have helped. And they are there for me. And when you just don’t know how to help, and I’m in no fit state for you to ask me, then it’s just as valid to step back and give me space, or to call for someone you know can do better, or even to take your best stab and get it wrong.
I’ve seen a lot of memes going around saying that depression should be accepted by people as an illness like any other. Well, everything goes both ways. I’m not going to hate you for not knowing how to deal with my depression any more than I’d hate someone for not knowing how to set my arm if I broke it!