Depression is a serious but treatable mental health disorder that affects millions of people in the world. It affects people of all ages and all races. It can affect people’s ability to make it through the day and can cause a lot of pain in their lives and the lives of people around them.
What I do believe to be true is that the support and encouragement of my friends have played a very important role in helping me manage my depression and also helped me recover.
When I experienced depression- I felt so many difficult emotions together. It was anger, fear, guilt, and sadness. I felt helpless and I had the constant support of my friends who told me that it is normal to feel those feelings because sometimes I felt like a crazy person and I started to neglect my health and my work. It is easy to feel overwhelmed during those times.
The support of my friends was vital for me. Knowing that I had someone there for me that I could call and talk to, helped me during my darkest days. It is times like those when you really appreciate the value of true friendships.
My friends reminded me of my energy and optimism and walked alongside me the entire way to tell me how I used to be. I also understand how exhausting it can be to support someone who cannot seem to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But my friends never gave up on me.
It is challenging at times to feel hopeful and that things will change but having friends who are there for you to talk to and who try their best to talk you out of you living inside your own shadow can be a lifesaver.
Knowing that I had people I could count on was the first and most important thing I needed to overcome my difficult days. Even on days, I gave up on myself- my friends never did.
My friends took depression seriously and didn’t tell me to ‘snap out of it’. They couldn’t understand exactly how I was feeling, but they tried.
One of my friends who played a lot of sports in high school helped me so much even if we lived in different states. She and I planned to text each other every day about what physical activity we did, and it helped me form a habit to exercise. Even on days, I did not want to do anything- I did something for us.
On days, I did not want to get out of bed- she said it was okay to have such days but if I continued on that path- she would send me encouraging reminders on how much better I would feel if I did something active, and she was always right. We live thousands of miles apart, but we started this years ago and we still continue it today.
I would never say I am the type who LOVES to exercise but I do it for my mental health and my sanity. It makes me feel like I accomplished something to take care of myself that day (small victories), and it feels good. Some days are harder than the others, and some days I have to push myself more.
There is a stigma attached to mental health and I used to find it embarrassing to tell anyone and for a while, I thought if I never talked about it; it would go away but it didn’t. I also wanted to make sure that when I did talk about it- I didn’t want to talk about it so much that it took over my life and I never wanted to be defined by just that.
It was important for me to really realize if I was experiencing depression or if I was only doing it for attention. Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference, which is why some people never take you seriously till it is too late.
I had a friend who told me that she told others that she was depressed because she was not getting enough attention and that is not okay. It ends up hurting people who truly are depressed and need support.
It is hard to describe why some days I would feel so unmotivated that some people saw it as laziness but sometimes it’s so hard to get out of bed and you don’t know why. It is frustrating to not know.
I always knew others couldn’t fix me. I needed to take the first step but having my friends were there for me, helped me stand up on many days when I was too tired to even sit up.
I have a friend who doesn’t like to give advice and what I love about her is that she is a compassionate listener. She listens without judging me and somehow, I feel lighter, and sometimes I find my own answers.
Knowing that my friends believed in me and wanted me to get better, helped me help myself. One of my best friends told me that he wouldn’t give up on me because I was going through a hard time because that is when you really need friends. He said he would do whatever it takes to help me and knowing that gave me a sense of comfort and relief.
Now, I feel much better than I used to, but I don’t know where I would be without my friends.
Some days I feel like I don’t care about anything or I sound way too negative, but the truth is- it is hard. I wish I could feel and think like people who aren’t experiencing depression. Some days, it takes more work to get out of bed and count my reasons why I should make any effort, but I do it for my friends because they believe in me.
They have faith in me.
I do it for them, to do it for me. Every day it gets easier, but it takes a long time. Some days it’s harder to smile but when I think of how much my friends want me to be happy- I try for them and over time, it feels like I am doing it for myself.
I am taking care of myself, the best way I can and that is the most I can do right now.
It helps to know that I know I am not alone in this.