Depression: We're not aliens. I’m just a brunette and you’re a blonde.
Updated: Sep 6, 2019
DISCLAIMER : I am not in any way claiming to be a trained physiatrist or have any medical training in dealing with depression. All of what is written in this blog post has been researched profusely, as well as posting my own personal experiences with mental health.
Dealing with depression is hard enough as it is without people trying to avoid you because you have a 'mental illness'. The problem is, a lot of people don't know how to treat someone with a mental illness, mostly because of the fact that often times people think that they might say or do something wrong to make that person feel worse. So because of this fact, as well as to celebrate mental health awareness week I've written this blog from personal experience of what to do when someone you know has depression.
W e ' r e N o t S a d A l l O f T h e T i m e :
The common misconception is that people with depression are sad 110% of the time, they drag everyone surrounding them down with them, and the common picture associated with them is a person wrapped in a duvet unable, and unwilling to get out of bed. And yes we do have days like that, but please don't think every waking minute is like this. Just because someone's not bedridden, doesn't mean they're not suffering with depression. Think of it like a rollercoaster, we have our ups and downs, like most people, however some downs just last a bit, or sometimes a lot longer than yours, and we don't necessarily have to have a reason for feeling this way, we just can't help it, and the worst part, we can't see it coming. So don't get us wrong, we love hanging out with you, but if we cancel it's not because we don't like you, it's just because depression doesn't often look at our social calendar beforehand.
D o n ' t A v o i d T h e S u b j e c t .
There is nothing worse than the word mental illness coming up and a lot of shh'ing, and sidewards glances going on towards you. We're not deaf, and it won't affect us by you talking about the subject, in fact it makes us feel more comfortable about the fact that you're actually taking it into consideration and talking about it, because a lot of people are scared to. We won't rip your head off if you say something which we think is wrong, you're entitled to your own opinion, and if you think we know why we feel this way, we don't. It's a total learning curve for us too. So just ask me about it (this is different for a lot of people, I have come to terms with the fact I have depression, however a lot of people struggle at first, and might not want to talk about it, but just don't try and hide the conversation topic.) We need a hand to hold sometimes, and anyone who says they can go through it alone will soon find out it's harder than what it seems. They just don't want to let it define them, and they can't see that getting help doesn't mean you've given in to it, it just means you're strong enough to give in to what's right. So please stop freaking out over the fact that they produce less serotonin than you, we're human.
Y o u ' r e a l l o w e d t o t e l l u s y o u r
p r o b l e m s t o o .
We actually quite like hearing about your problems, it makes us feel like we're not the only one going through something, and it gets our minds off ourselves. Not telling us what's going on in your life just because we have depression is like labelling us with a 'do not touch sign'. Stop putting us in a category. Have you ever met a perfect person and honestly felt uncomfortable around them, because it seems like they breeze through life and they could literally do no wrong, well...don't be that person, because people like you terrify people like us. Nobody's perfect. We're human, and we like to hear about what you're going through. I myself like helping people, I like listening (as much as some people would disagree with that by the amount that I talk,) but if you hide your problems from me just because I have a mental illness it doesn't help anyone, it will just cause problems in our friendship, and you'll be the one creating barriers.
G i v e u s t i m e :
We like knowing you're there for us, but when it comes down to it, if we're pulling away it's quite possible that we just need some time for ourselves. I love getting a text from my friend asking if I'm all good because they haven't heard from me in a while, but if I don't text back, then try and not get offended. I'm probably just finding it hard to multitask whilst getting back my mojo. Like it says in the title ~ we're not aliens, we just think differently than you. We're still human, and we can have as much fun as you, we just can't plan it as much.
T H E B I G G E S T M E S S A G E ~ N o t h i n g h a s t o h a p p e n f o r u s t o g e t S a d .
Human emotion will always be a complicated one, it's the one thing which we've tried to control for centuries but when push comes to shove we never will be able to know. It's uncontrollable. However to you, who don't suffer from depression please understand that nothing has to happen for us to have a moment of sadness, we won't know how long it will last, and it could be over anything or nothing, unfortunately we can't plan it, and as much as you try and get us out of that funk the hormones just say no sometimes. So please stop pestering us, asking what we're upset about. When we say 'nothing' we're not necessarily lying.
If you're feeling numb and not feeling the joy in the things you love to do anymore, if you're not texting back your friends, not because you don't want to but because you're just feeling drained, if you're tired all of the time even when you've had what seems like years of sleep, then you might be suffering from depression. If you are struggling with how you're feeling, then please talk to someone. Whether it's a close friend, a family member or taking a different route and talking to a professional who you don't know. Childline offers a great service called the 1-2-1 chatline where you chat to a registered councillor about how you are, and what you can do about how you feel. Sometimes we just need someone to talk to.
Just don't give up x