depression - what to say

a depressed person - ISN'T attention seeking.
a depressed person is in terrible and unceasing emotional pain, and the impossibility of sharing or articulating the pain is itself a component of the pain and a contributing factor in its essential horror.
usually, where we sit in the depths of our self despair, the pit is so deep, the place so dark, we avoid others, specially 'close' others, more than 'seek them out' ... in fact. the deeper the pit, the less likely we are for anyone to discover us at that place - the complete opposite, of 'wanting attention'

life, becomes overwhelming. everyday tasks, impossible. sometimes, continuing to breathe, is the best we can expect from ourselves

this can become very frustrating for friends or family who have never been in that place to understand, a simple 'get over it' or 'snap out of it' appears to be the solution and they can't understand why we simply dont...

it has a really negative effect on our relationships with anyone, specially, when the occurence is regular, or we think we are doing 'ok', cruising along and in a relatively happy place - then the pit swallows us up again.. out of nowhere
BUT ... a depressed person, has no idea how to snap out of it ... if we had our own magical powers to simply click our fingers and 'be over it' we would most CERTAINLY choose that option .. because, being sad - it isnt fun at all.

at times, we are very draining. to those that know us. ok, not at times, pretty much, always, we are draining. i acknowledge that. we arent the nicest or easiest of the human species to know when our fingertips are grasping the bottom rung of the ladder.

i was recently talking to a friend who was trying to 'get inside' my head, while i was in a relatively good space to try to express how it all 'internalises' when my thoughts are totally irrational.
she wanted to try to understand how it felt, where *i* went, then, in turn, how she can - help, when i reach the depths of what i feel i can handle ...
asking lots of questions, probing, i didnt mind. but i didnt have all the answers. i have given it all a lot of thought - because i really don't know how someone can 'help' ... nor, when i am 'in that place', how to articulate anything...

you really only try to crystallise your thoughts, when someone comes and questions or asks, it makes you face yourself and try to make sense of that which never is. and people have to be receptive to the answer, to be REALLY listening, to actually 'hear' what you are saying.

a few days after this chat, and i had been feeling SO wonderful - i was in the dark place again though, just a boom out of nowhere. i could not have felt more on top of the world when it came and hit like armageddon inside my mind... the internal fight, i get so exhausted.

it was noticed. she told me how much she cared about me and that she was there for me. to call. to talk. to go over. whatever i needed. i left her, as i would have got emotional, - left, with no intention of actually taking up all she had said to me, my ears did not really listen, BUT, the words were enough to know, that *i* must matter. i actually got some little inkling within me, that she actually MIGHT, even REALLY care!
that. is the very best. that a friend can do. when we are in that place. and that. is enough. to somehow, get us through.

it's a lonely world we live in, some days we cope with better than others, some moments we deal with, better than others, and situations, really are, the luck of the draw relating to that particular journey of time and the circumstances relating to it.
we don't expect anyone to fix our problem, or the way we are feeling - if we can't, we sure don't expect anyone else to know how to ..

i have come across this list .. which kinda does sum it up - however, the thing is, any of these things 'listed' below, when we are within our dark worlds, we do NOT believe ...

*the list* - what to say ... (but NEVER, say anything you dont ever actually mean, even if 'we' arent believing at the time of the words in our darkness, when we are becoming 'better' we remember the words that were said - and we actually DO believe, then have an expectation that they were actually meant) everyone is different, i have bolded in red, those that *i* would like to hear ... when i am in that hole, or clutching that bottom rung, they may will not change how i am but, somewhere, sub consciously, the words will enter in ...
1. "If you need a friend, i'm here"
2. "I care"
3. "You're not alone in this"
4. "I'm not going to leave/abandon you"  (<<- oh most important!)
5. "Do you want a hug?" (<<- that would just make me cry - and worse)
6. "I love you"  (<<- i, personally, would NEVER believe this one - never ever say it when i am flat)
7. "It will pass, we can ride it out together."
8. "When all this is over, I'll still be here and so will you."
9. Don't say anything, just hold my hand and listen while I cry.
10. "All I want to do now is give you a hug and a shoulder to cry on.."
11. "Hey, you're NOT crazy!"  (<<- probably the one i would like to hear the most, cos, it's usually how i feel - my mind is just a jumble of irrational 'crazy' processes!)
12. "May the strength of the past reflect in your future."
13. "God does not play dice with the universe." --A. Einstein
14. "A miracle is simply a do-it-yourself project." --S. Leek
15. "We are not primarily on earth to see through one another, but to see one another through"
16. "I understand your pain and I empathise."
17. "I'm sorry you're in so much pain. I am NOT going to leave you. I am going to take care of myself so you don't need to worry that your pain might hurt me."
18. "I listen to you talk about it, and I can't imagine what it's like for you. I just can't imagine how hard it must be. But i can hear you"
19. "I can't really fully understand what you are feeling, but I can offer my compassion."
20. "You are important to me."
most times, we only want (and need) to be alone - this IS a mistake, but we dont see that, nor seek out 'others' .... our minds are an irrational mess of broken thoughts and inferior self defeating statements. altering constantly. each thought process only replaced by one even further down the spectrum of self absorbed hatred...
but the most important thing you can do is just to (really) be there - if we WERE to seek you out, and give us your support, either way...

it is not your fault that we are depressed. depression is an illness.

yes. i can imagine how frustrating it must all be for someone on the outside looking in ... for someone who touches our lives even in a remote way... let alone those we are close to

the grief i give many, in exchange for their relentless friendship possibly is never realised in its entirety but i am ever thankful there are many, who care, even if many a time, i dont think so, nor, can i feel it. nor, do i deserve it.
but i know im one heck of a fortunate lady!

* it takes 1,000 'attaboys' to erase a single 'you aren't good enough' *


owlblog said...

Thanks Ann. I worked supporting carers of people with a mental illness for 7 years, I grew up with parents who both experienced depression, I have other family and friends who experienced depression but it wasn't till I had a recent long episode (over a year long) that I really understood what it was like and I still struggle to understand my own experience. Others' lack of understanding cut to the quick even though my rational mind knew what they were probably feeling, as I had been there (in the support role) too. Both places suck big time. What helped most (from friends and family) was others who understood or who tried to understand and persevered despite how draining I probably was. Everything I knew about supporting someone with depression was right and also terribly wrong. I wholeheartedly agree that it's the intention; the genuineness behind the words that is the most important.

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