Simple ways to support a friend living with depression truly are SIMPLE. Friends don’t always know you need it, and when they do, they don’t know how to provide it. Many of us with depression don’t ask for help. More often than not, we feel like it’s a burden for our friends, and family. Sadly, friends and family who aren’t sure how to support us, end up phasing themselves out of our lives, which is a legitimate fear many of us have, which often comes true. Basically, it’s another layer to the journey with depression.
Simple ways to support a friend living with depression
As someone who lives with depression, and learned about it later in life, I just don’t ask for support. I’m definitely more candid about having depression, but I don’t ask friends to help me with it. They aren’t experts. How the heck can they provide me with any kind of help? Well, they can. It’s not always about helping get through the depression in that you sit and listen to me work through what’s going on in my head. I don’t want to deal with it, so I wouldn’t want a friend to deal with it.
Supporting a person with depression is sometimes as simple as:
- offering to bring by dinner for me, and my family
- taking the kids for the day
- taking some of the daily tasks off our hands: laundry, loading the dishwasher, vacuuming, etc.
- sitting in silence, watching television, or a movie
- swinging outside on an outdoor porch swing
- going for a walk, without asking a ton of questions
- taking a drive, listening to loud music
- sitting on the beach, watching the ocean waves
- not taking it personally when we cancel plans at the last minute
Friends don’t realize the simple things go a long way. They get caught up in “helping with the depression,” and to be honest, that’s for a therapist. It’s not up to a friend to help sort out the issues plaguing them. Many of us are depressed because of our brain chemistry, it’s not something a friend can help with. We need professionals for our depression. I think friends who want to cure us, well, they end up overwhelmed. Or, sometimes, they feel useless. Both beliefs lead them to phasing themselves out of a depressed friend’s life.
When we ask for help, the best thing to do is ask if we’re seeing a therapist, or another professional. If so, more likely, the help we need is to feel loved, and accepted. AND, of course, help with the little things we have a hard time accomplishing, like daily routine things, like laundry. We’re usually struggling to not run to our beds, and curl up in the fetal position. Simple ways to support a friend living with depression truly are SIMPLE.
Do these work for all of us? No, but for me, and probably many others, these simple gestures are forever appreciated, and welcomed, even if we sometimes don’t show it.