For some people it can be difficult to understand what someone with depression goes through. I get that, it’s hard sometimes to empathise with others when you haven’t experienced what they are dealing with yourself and that can be tough for friends and family of someone dealing with depression or any mental illness.
My biggest struggle has always been the question of getting a formal diagnosis and the possibility of going on medication to alleviate my episodes. I know that medication can be helpful and have seen how well they work in family members and friends. Personally, I’ve always maintained that the depression is a part of me and I prefer to feel it and deal with it without medication so that I can better understand myself.
The reason I feel like I can continue without seeking medical advice is simple: support. I have support from everyone in my life when I need it. While I may not talk openly all the time about my depression, I am open enough that those around me are aware of what I deal with and offer help in a myriad of forms. I no longer mask my depression and that has helped me to form relationships that are beneficial to me.
Support comes in so many forms, the things I find helpful are simple and basic, but super important to someone when they are feeling hopeless:
- A friend asking if I’m okay when I’ve been quiet. This isn’t limited to asking me, but asking Hubby as well. The message gets passed on and it always means a lot.
- Making plans to hang out or meet up for a chat. Having something to look forward to helps sometimes, but they shouldn’t get upset if you cancel last minute or aren’t feeling up to it.
- People giving me space to work through everything. Mainly this is Hubby, he knows at times when he can hug and run so I can have some me time.
- People offering to be there when I need them. I may never take them up on their offer, just the offer itself is enough to show support.
There are, of course, a million ways to show support to your loved ones. Ask them what they would like. It may just be sitting quietly together, ordering pizza, and watching Netflix. It might be a day out to take your mind off of what is going on in your head. It could be just the asking. Letting them know you care and see that they are going through something, and you’re available for them should they need you is the best way to start a dialogue about depression and show your support.
There are also some great organisations available to support and help those who need it. Don’t be afraid to seek help or speak up about how you are feeling. I have faith that if you’re struggling you almost always be pleasantly surprised with the support you find if you just open up to someone you trust.