Written by Hannah Blum, author of The Truth About Broken: The Unfixed Version of Self-Love
Close friends are the people we create unforgettable memories with. They know us better than we know ourselves. However, what do you do when your friend suddenly disappears from your life? You reach out but receive no answer. As someone diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I know how difficult it is to explain the unexplainable. The beautiful part is, you do not have to understand someone’s pain to be there for them. Here are 10 things your friend with depression wants you to know.
1. Depression is real.
Depression is a common, but very serious mood disorder that affects how you think, feel and behave. It can be a reaction to a tragic life occurrence or as a clinically diagnosed condition. It makes me feel helpless and worthless at times, but this is not your fault.
2. You don’t have to fix me.
It is not your responsibility to fix me or erase the pain. You may not know it, but just by being present you are helping me. When people try to fix me, it just reminds me that something is wrong with me.
3. I’m not ignoring you on purpose.
I am not being distant based on something you said or did. If you have sent a text or called my phone, and received no answer, I apologize. Our friendship will always remain separate from these moments of despair. I cannot be the friend I want to be, so I choose to completely withdraw and isolate myself. It is difficult to text and speak when I am in a low.
4. It is difficult to be social when I’m depressed.
Socializing is really exhausting when I am depressed. Large crowds make me anxious and putting on an act is hard. The best thing would be to have a night in, hanging out, and having real conversations. You cannot force the sun to come out on a rainy day.
5. There is no explanation for the way I feel sometimes.
There is no equation or formula to get an answer of why I am feeling this way. It is not a “blue mood,” but a chemical imbalance that causes me to fall into severe emotional states for periods of time. Sometimes it’s completely out my control. It’s something I have to accept, as well as the people around me.
6. Stigma prevents me from opening up.
Stigma is a mark of disgrace associated with a person. It has a major impact on my life, as well as the life of others. It is important you understand stigma and my sensitivity to negative comments about people with mental illness. This is why it’s not easy for me to open up what I am going through. It’s not you, it’s stigma.
7. Please be patient with me.
There is no quick fix or secret potion that will suddenly make this better. In these times, patience is key! I would love to snap my fingers and be better right now, but I cannot. As much effort as I put into healing, it will take some time.
8. I am not doing this to hurt you.
It is difficult to understand mental illness, and even harder to explain. This is not a cry for help, but a condition that consumes my mind. I am not trying to get attention. Mental illness affects many people, and I happen to be one of them.
9. The best way to help me is by encouraging me to get involved.
Sharing mental health content, such as blog posts, articles, social media posts, and quotes, will help me feel like I am not alone. It will give me comfort knowing that you are on this journey with me.
10. I love you & our friendship means a lot to me.
I cannot tell you when I will be myself again. It could be today, tomorrow or months from now. In that time, when I’m distant and withdrawn, know that I love and support you always.
For more mental health content follow @hannahdblum