1. “Can I come sit with you?”
Most of the time when I’m depressed I have to force myself out of bed to take care of basic needs like eating or taking a shower, and the thought of leaving the comfort of my bedroom is exhausting in itself. If somehow you are able to convince me to leave the house, just know I’ll do the bare minimum when it comes to my appearance; you’ll be lucky if I put on something other than sweatpants or even attempt to do my hair. So when you drag me out to a restaurant or a movie not only will I feel like shit, but I’ll look like shit too, and depression feeds off insecurity. I think people are afraid to leave their comfort zone to enter mine due to possibly getting sucked into my blackhole, and that isn’t by any means a ridiculous concern to have. I’m not asking you to be by my side every second of everyday, but it would just be nice to have one person offer to come sit with me in my space for a change.
2. “You don’t have to tell me anything you don’t want to.”
I don’t need you to try to analyze why I’m feeling depressed, that’s what my therapist is for. I also don’t need you to tell me what I need to be doing to stop being depressed. I know that all you’re trying to do is help, but it seems like you’re more concerned about the personal details of my life rather than my well-being as a person. Stay away from anything that starts with “Why do you,” “Why are you,” “You shouldn’t,” and “I think.” I don’t want your advice, I want your support, and when I do overcome this dark period I’ll remember that you were there to listen…or not listen, and that will mean more than anything you said to try and solve all my problems.
3. “What do you want to do?”
I’m depressed, not stupid; I can still think for myself and I don’t need a babysitter to plan out an agenda for me based off of what they think is best. If you ask me what I want to do, I guarantee I will tell you. It might not be what you agree with, but keep in mind: this isn’t about you. The common theme here is support vs. saving, the former being the one that I need from you. Depression is not something you can save me from, it’s something that I have to work through myself with the help of therapy, meds, and support from the people I love. Unless you are seriously concerned that I might be a danger to myself or others, stop trying to be a superhero and let your power lay in your ability to be a good friend.
4. “I care about you.”
This one seems obvious right? I’m sure someone has said it to me before, but I can think of way more instances when someone hasn’t said it. Once when I was going through an episode, a person I loved told me that I was like a black cloud following them around. Another time I had someone cry to me about how badly my depression was affecting them. It’s as if making me feel guilty for hurting them over something I can’t control is supposed to miraculously snap me back into reality. I’m sorry but that’s not how it works; it actually makes things 1000x worse. Though I may seem cold as ice at that moment, remember that I do still have a heart, and knowing that I’m hurting the people I care about just adds onto the list in my head of reasons why I’m worthless.
Hopefully I already know this, and if I don’t then there’s a bigger issue regarding why you’re even in my life; but it’s not about me already knowing, it’s about me not wanting to be a burden. If you’re there for me when I’m not depressed then you know that I take full advantage of your support when it comes time to vent. So when I am going through an episode I think about every single time you’ve been there for me and the last thing I want to do is push you away by being that friend that always has a problem. If you think something might be wrong don’t assume that I’ll come to you because I already know you’re there, I just need to be assured that you won’t leave me if I decide to share my darkest feelings with you.