When one takes the initiative to raise mental health awareness, he/she must not only focus on the medical progress; for we are living in a society where people have different mental illness conditions and the least we can do is to educate ourselves on how to deal with them the same way you would learn about first aid.
It can be overwhelming to love or be friends with someone who has a highly functioning mental illness, it leaves you feeling all sort of ways, you get to dive through difficult emotions, including helplessness, frustration, anger, fear, guilt, and sadness. I am an introvert and am not big on socializing (mind you when I do I do) the few times I managed to make friends however, they all had one thing in common_ depression!
When the people you most care about live with a crippling condition that makes them love you so much in the morning and hate you so much in evening, a condition that makes them so hyped about going with you at the cinema to watch that movie you have been waiting for all this time only to cancel at the last-minute because they are not sure they will be able to stand all these strangers at the mall. When your friend’s condition gets you used to staying indoors, eating popcorn (Sweet ones) in beds that were last made the day Jesus left planet earth and makes you sleepover because they are afraid of being alone….If you stick around no matter what, there you know you really care about them.
“Absorbed in this world you’ve made it your burden. Rise above the world, there is another vision” said Rumi
One can only take in so much, soon or later what you take in will certainly be evident in your conversations and will only intoxicate your surrounding. We are all endlessly absorbing and emitting energetic vibrations. Depressed people won’t talk a lot, but even the silence might get loud and when they manage to speak, they won’t always have nice stories.
As a good friend there are things you can do to help make their days lighter
This is the first and foremost thing to do! you just want to see them do better right?
I hate to break it to you but you are not a savior; you can only love them.
Love them so genuinely, love them in every season, Love them when they’re happy and Love them when they’re sad, love their strength and do not leave out their scars. Love them when they feel they are not worth loving. That will not save them but it might give them a reason to keep fighting .
Look I know you want to help, you want to make this person feel better , you want them to know you are there and that you care about them and that there is hope….
Rather than turning into a motivation speaker , ask them questions and sometimes try to break grounds for new conversations. Listen with your heart open for sometimes they will leave a lot hanging between the lines.
We are empathetic beings and one amazing fact about empathy is that we’re able to discern feelings. We’re able to tell if someone is speaking or acting genuine. We lie so much, and the reality is that not everyone is interested to hear the truth.
Don’t ask “How are you” cause you know the answer “Am fine”
Ask deep questions!
Check on them
Do not let them lock themselves up; they tend to! It’s Friday, why don’t you try to drag them out of their bed? You could take them for a run after work, take them to that new coffee shop in town and have a chat or may be why not go together at the library. In case all the above fails, may be you should stop by their place! My best-friend wouldn’t let me in if I don’t take a bottle of Red with me so know your people!
Really try not to leave them alone for so long, because the next time you check, it may be too late.
Finally, do some reading about mental health. Learn about depression symptoms, learn about how to help them overcome negative thoughts, and regain their energy, optimism, and enjoyment of life. However, your loved one’s depression can also wear you down if you neglect your own needs. Educating yourself about mental health will help you support your loved ones in their recovery while maintaining your own emotional equilibrium.