I have been there. I have been the friend and I have been the depressed. Each role has its challenges. It is hard for everyone.
My story as a friend started years ago and it hasn’t ended. In this time it has changed who the depressed friend is. Each case is individual but I found that in all cases my friend needed me to listen. So I tried. I tried to listen and to be supportive. Before my last depression I didn’t understand that I could have helped them by lifting some of the weight of their shoulders for instance by doing their grocery shopping. I know that now.
I have heard (from an article by a psychiatrist) that it is important to familiarise yourself with the illness, remind that it is only temporary and take the initiative to go and do something. These are things I would have liked to know years ago so I could have been a better friend.
While i exoect understanding of my friends, I am much more demanding when it comes to my family. I can’t even imagine how difficult it must have been (and still is) for them. What I demand of my family is unfair. I expect that they support me, hold me when I cry, and help me with practical stuff. Basically everything. It is not a spoken demand, but the problem is that I simply can’t do it by myself.
I feel with my friends and family but while I’m in the darkness I can’t think of anyone else but me. And even that is too much. I wish I didn’t burden them so much. But my wishes do not do the dishes or clean at home.
All those tears, all those dishes and dinners and grocery shopping, all those calls on my behalf (I have a hard time making a phone call when i am depressed). My loved ones really work hard. For me. Thank you.
Over and out.