True friends are those rare people who come to find you in dark places and lead you back to the light. —Steven Aitchison.
When I was thinking about what to write for today’s article, I thought I’d write a recipe-related article.
However, something didn’t feel right so I decided to write straight from my heart.
Earlier this year, I talked about when it’s time to let go of a friendship.
Today, I want to talk about how to navigate depression that’s happening within a friendship. I’ve been going through a huge rollercoaster of emotions lately from every area of my life so I really felt the need to write about depression and the impact it can have on friendships.
I’m going through this personally in one of my friendships and it’s hard. Currently, I’m on the other side where I’m feeling the effects of my friend’s depression. I’ll be honest.
It’s hard watching my friend go through depression. I feel like she’s a fish out of water that’s trying to breathe. I desperately want to pick her up and put her back in the water, but she just keeps flopping around, not wanting me anywhere near her.
She says she has so many goals and dreams, however her answer to achieving them is not to try. She wants support, but doesn’t want any when people/I offer it.
Our conversations have gotten to the point where it’s small talk. I want to support her, but I feel lost myself, like I can’t support her without being affected too. Sometimes I feel like I’m the fish out of water. What do I do to help both of us? Keep my distance to give her some room yet still have one eye on her. That’s the best I can come up with so far. At least for me.
If you’re the one feeling the effects of depression in a friendship like I am, here’s what I’m doing to navigate my way:
Even though I feel like she’s not listening, I communicate to my friend. She has to know that the lines to speak up is open on both ends. No matter how small the conversation is, any conversation is a baby step for her (and for me).
CONFIDE IN ANOTHER FRIEND.
Sometimes, talking to another friend in the same situation or even outside of the situation can help. Their support and perspective on how you feel can in turn help you better navigate depression in your affected friendship.
BE EMOTIONALLY AWARE.
Ask questions and lots of it. Seek to understand that person’s emotions. Seek to understand how you feel in the situation as well. Before getting upset at your friend whom you may not know is depressed, seek to understand first.
Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. What could possibly be going on in their life at the moment? Why are they feeling what they’re feeling? Then ask yourself why you are upset. All I can say is learn about emotional intelligence and practice it every day because it’s going to help you better understand the other person’s emotions and your’s too. If you have any questions about EQ, feel free to message me.
SEEK AND USE RESOURCES TO RELIEVE YOUR OWN STRESS.
In my situation, my stress has gotten so bad that I’ve broken out on my face (I currently have four when I usually get one) and this is bad because I only get zits from two things: chocolate and stress. Considering I haven’t eaten any chocolate lately, the level of stress I have from the effects is pretty high for my zits to hurt. Whether it’s meditating, doing yoga, going to therapy or reading the Bible, find resources or things to do to take some of the pressure off of you. I know this may sound selfish, but step away and take care of yourself. You can’t fill up someone else’s tank if you’re empty yourself.
Months after my daddy passed away from cancer in 2008, I found myself numb all the time. I still went to church, went to school, etc., but I felt nothing.
The thing is, I didn’t even know I had gone through depression until I was out of it.
What helped me recognize that I had gone through depression was talking about it, even if I felt empty inside. To others, it may be a baby step, but confessing to my best friend what I had gone through and how I felt was a huge step for me. The kicker, I told her years after it happened.
The point of my story? Depending on the situation, sometimes, you have to wait until the person recognizes the problem themselves. Sometimes they can solve it themselves. Sometimes all you can do is provide whatever support you can provide whether that means lending an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on or prayer. Don’t feel guilty for doing the best you can.
I hope this post has helped you today. No matter which side of depression you’re on, I hope my personal experience helps someone out there.
If have a friend who is depressed, how are you navigating through your friendship?
As someone who went through a period of depression in my own life, please note that I wrote this article based on my own experiences. I understand that depression is a serious issue for many so this content should not be used for diagnosis or treatment of a health problem or disease and serves as informational purposes only. Always consult a professional healthcare provider and if you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to someone. It’s free and confidential. You matter!