You have been there for me in the worst and best of times. You have seen me fighting with myself and seen the great things I can do when I set my mind to them. But here are some things you might not understand when having depression.
Your words can hurt, even if you don’t mean them.
When I come to you crying about a situation which you might think is “over the top” or dramatic, sometimes the best thing to do is not say anything at all. In my mind, the smallest thing can make me worry and doubt what I am doing. I constantly go over things in my mind about how I can do better, and when you make it sound like I am being dramatic, it crushes me and makes me doubt myself more. Listening is all I need sometimes.
Physical contact helps.
When I am upset, it’s OK to try to comfort me. Not everyone is like this, and we will tell you if we don’t want to be touched. In the moment, hold my hand and rub my back if you are unsure. Ask me, “Can I hold your hand?” The slightest bit of physical contact can lower anxiety levels and give you a sense of grounding. Please don’t be offended when I don’t want to be touched. Give me a second — I will come around.
Please don’t refuse a small gesture.
If I make you something out of the kindness of my heart, please understand I choose to do this as a sense of appreciation for you. I thought for days on end if I should do this, and by God I did it. I don’t need to have a sugar-coated answer of, “I love it.” Please see that I tried to do something nice. If you like it, you like it. If you don’t, then please let me down gently.
Dear friend, please know that my mental illness is only one side of me. It takes over some days, and I will fight to have a good day, but your support is what helps me along the journey. If I didn’t have a friend like you, I wouldn’t be where I am now. Please see it in your heart that I am not trying to be dramatic, I am not trying to be selfish or let my mental illness control me. I am trying to make an effort. Sometimes the smallest things can be the biggest decisions. Know that every day is a new day with new challenges and that my challenge is ongoing. With your support, I can make it. Please keep in mind that these things do get to me and I may not say it. Please think before you make a decision.