Despite the title of this post, I am fortunate to not be currently suffering from depression, and in my almost 30 years of being alive I haven’t had to fight back the ‘black dog’. There have been times when things haven’t gone my way – several months in 2009 for example – but I’m lucky to never experience the numbness and helplessness that those that suffer from depression feel every day.
That being said, a number of my friends are not so lucky. I reckon at least 5% of my Facebook friends are battling depression at the moment. Therefore, knowing how to deal with someone who is depressed is really important. Saying or doing the wrong thing, even if just through a lack of understanding, can make things worse for them.
The first article that I came across was ‘How can I help a friend who seems depressed?‘, from Lifehacker earlier this month. It’s aimed at people like me who want to help, but have never been through depression ourselves. It challenges some of the common preconceptions people have about depression, and how just telling someone to cheer up isn’t going to help. It includes a link to this TED talk and particular this quote:
Real depression isn’t being sad when something in your life goes wrong. Real depression is being sad when everything in your life is going right.
Another article worth reading is 21 Tips to Keep Yourself Together When You’re Depressed. That’s actually not the proper article name but I avoid swearing on here. It’s aimed at those who are depressed, but even if you aren’t, I would strongly suggest giving it a read. There are some really good tips in there.
Depression is something that effects more people than many realise. If we could all take a few moments to find out more about it, then maybe some of those that are suffering will get better.
Update: I removed a little Freudian slip in the second paragraph: ‘That being sad…’