So… you have a friend with depression. As someone with depression, I know it’s hard to deal with, and sometimes you don’t know what to do. Here’s a list of things that my friends have done for me that have helped.
*DISCLAIMER* I am not a psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist or even psychology major. I’m simply a girl who’s speaking from experience, not expertise. Just because something helped me doesn’t mean it will help you/your friend.
- Be careful with your wording. This might seem silly, but one little word that seems fishy could through someone off kilter.
- Tell them you’re thinking about them and that you care. I know that my depression is often caused by feelings of being unloved and lonely. When a friend texts or writes me a note, it makes me feel better.
- Invite them places. Even if you think they already know they’re invited or it’s a normal thing, reinforce the idea that they’re wanted. Sometimes, when my friends don’t text me about dinner, I assume it’s because they don’t want me there. Turns out it’s usually because they assume I already know.
- Be there. You don’t have to understand what they’re going through or be able to relate to help them. Just listen to them. Hug them.
- Validate them. Even if you don’t think you would feel some way about something, let them know that it’s okay if they do.
- Even if they do themselves, don’t make a joke out of their illness. I know it’s something I struggle with. I make fun of things I’m uncomfortable with, but if anybody tried to make fun of my depression, I would be shattered.
- Educate yourself on their illness. Even if just on Wikipedia or Google… just learn some general facts. It’ll help both you and your friend.
- Ask them how they want you to help them. Maybe they won’t tell you. Maybe you’ll find out that they’d really appreciate it if you forced them to get out of bed when they really don’t feel like doing something. Maybe you need to be gentler. Whatever they tell you they need, do it.