Here’s how to connect with friends who’re depressed

Here’s how to connect with friends who’re depressed

Sadly, happiness is not something some people experience much of.

In fact, happiness is not something any of us experience all the time.

But there are some for whom unhappiness can become overwhelming; for whom depression and hopelessness become the norm.

They can, however, be helped; you can help them. There might not be a magic fix to make them happy but there are certainly things we can all do to connect and to listen and to be with them; and that, surely, is a thing worth doing…

via TED Ideas by Bill Bernat

When I lived with severe depression and social anxiety, I found it extremely difficult to talk to strangers. Yet the one conversation that uplifted me more than any other occurred in the dining hall of the mental health wing of a mountain-town hospital. I met a woman who told me that a few days earlier, she’d driven her Jeep Wrangler to the edge of the Grand Canyon. She sat there, revving the engine and thinking about driving over.

She described what had been going on in her life in the days and months leading up, what her thoughts were at that exact moment, why she wanted to die, and why she didn’t do it. We nodded and half-smiled, and then it was my turn to talk about my journey to our table in that fine dining establishment. I had taken too many sleeping pills. After the doctors treated me, they were like, “Hey, we’d love it if you would be our guest in the psych ward!”

That day, she and I talked shop. She allowed me to be deeply depressed andsimultaneously have a genuine connection to another person. For the first time, I identified as someone living with depression and I felt, oddly, good about it — or rather, like I wasn’t a bad person for having it.

Now, imagine one of the people at that table was a member of your family or a close friend who told you they were really depressed. Would you be comfortable talking to them?

Depression doesn’t diminish a person’s desire to connect with other people, just their ability.

The World Health Organization says that depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide, affecting more than 300 million people. In the United States, the National Institute of Mental Health reports 7 percent of Americans experience depression in a year. But while depression is super common, in my experience most folks don’t want to talk to depressed people unless we pretend to be happy. So we learn to put on a cheerful façade for casual interactions, like buying a pumpkin spice latte. The average barista doesn’t want to know that a customer is trapped in the infinite darkness of their soul.

Depression doesn’t diminish a person’s desire to connect with other people, just their ability…

…keep reading the full & original article HERE