When I lived with severe depression and social anxiety, I found it extremely difficult to talk to strangers. Yet the one conversation that uplifted me more than any other occurred in the dining hall of the mental health wing of a mountain-town hospital. She sat there, revving the engine and thinking about driving over.
We nodded and half-smiled, and then it was my turn to talk about my journey to our table in that fine dining establishment. I had taken too many sleeping pills.
That day, she and I talked shop. She allowed me to be deeply depressed and simultaneously have a genuine connection to another person. Now, imagine one of the people at that table was a member of your family or a close friend who told you they were really depressed. Would you be comfortable talking to them? The World Health Organization says that depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide, affecting more than million people. And despite what you might think, talking to friends and family living with depression can be easy and maybe fun.
I began battling depression when I was eight, and decades later, to my surprise, I started winning that battle.
I shifted from being miserable much of the time to enjoying life. As someone who lives on both sides of this chasm, I want to offer you some guidance based on my experiences to help you build a bridge across.
For example, you cannot cure clinical depression by eating ice cream, which is unfortunate because that would be living the dream. I have a friend who, about a year ago, messaged me saying he was feeling really isolated and depressed.
Sadness does not need to be treated with the urgency of a shark attack. Yes, we can be sad and OK at the exact same time. Do talk to us in your natural voice. Do absolve yourself of responsibility for the depressed person.
Phil — just be friendly, more like Ellen. Do be clear about what you can and cannot do for us.
Can I call you every day? Or, maybe text you every day and call you later in the week? What works for you? Do interact with us about normal stuff or ask us for help. This was a great way to reach out. They were engaging with him without calling attention to his depression.
Yes, your depressed friends could be a good source of free labor! This is, by no means, Hookup a person with clinical depression definitive list. All of these suggestions are grounded in one guiding principle: She spoke to me like I was OK and had something to offer exactly as I was at that moment.
Talk to a depressed person as if their life is just as valuable, intense and beautiful as yours. If you focus on that, it might just be the most uplifting conversation of their life.
He brings awareness and humor to mental health in his award-winning show, Becoming More Less Crazy. He also leads storytelling workshops and fundraisers for nonprofit organizations.
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