This is a powerful yet incredibly beautiful phrase that people with depression are trying to tell us about the world they live in. There are millions of people who are silently suffering and cling on to barely managing their symptoms, just for the hope of not falling into crisis mode to seek help. They would rather suffer alone and in silence than have a loved one see them as a burden. Let alone, to let the world see them as weak.
You see, living with depression makes the world look a lot brighter than it really is and makes their own personal world dimmer than it should be. We are all intertwined with relations every day of our lives. Some relationships lift us higher, while others bring us down. Living with depression is a very lonely environment to live in and this is why having support is an important factor in recovery. Think of it this way; I want you to imagine you are in the middle of an ocean, you know how to swim but you are drowning with the waves of despair and hopelessness; you tell yourself “I am not worthy, I’m too tired, no one will miss me.” You look around and see everyone else swimming and breathing just fine. How would you feel if those that were swimming just fine asked you “I thought you were stronger than that?” or “we all have problems, get over it.” That wouldn’t make you feel that good, would it? How might you feel if they asked you “How can I help you?”, “I know you can get through this” or “are you okay?” Rephrasing our intentions in a more helping manner, goes a long way and can save lives. People with depression didn’t choose to be depressed, it is an illness. Do know that with proper treatment, there is always a choice to fight depression. It’s not something to just snap out of.
One of the noblest things you can ever do is be a friend to someone who is depressed and show them kindness. You know why it’s noble, because it is one of the hardest things to do. To be able to be there for a friend, or loved one when they are in their darkest times. To be able to try to understand their hopelessness, their lethargy and their loneliness. Here are some suggestions that may help you love someone with depression a little louder today:
- Action speaks louder than words: This pretty much speaks for itself. You can apologize profusely about not doing something you said you would do, but actually doing the deed speaks volumes to your loved ones. Make a conscious attempt to finish whatever you said you would do, even if it was a simple errand. This will show your loved one that you care enough to do something without being reminded.
- Pick your battles: In any given situation, whether it be a friend or relative, having a conversation with a person is a choice. Before engaging in an argument, stop and think to yourself “is winning this fight even worth it?” Just because someone is inviting you into an argument, doesn’t mean you have to engage in one. When your loved one is starting to argue with you, you can always stop it from escalating by simply stating “Sorry, I can’t talk about this right now, let’s talk later about this.”
- Apologize often: Yes, apologize often, even if you are right. In the greater scheme of things, what is more important: to be right or your loved one’s feelings. It shows that you care about their well-being more than proving who was right. When handing out apologies and forgiving, it is more about what you are in control of and for the greater good of the situation. In the long run, it will make you feel better when you apologize and also make your loved one feel better. (Please note, this is not a healthy habit to take to extremes and apologize for everything, but do remember to pick your battles. When it is not a battle worth fighting, apologize to defuse the situation).
- Acts of Kindness: This right here is the most overlooked act in our everyday lives that can enhance love and yet, it is the easiest to do. Sharing with others is a kind gesture and really hits to the core of humanity. So the next time you’re grabbing a cup of coffee, ask your loved one if they want one, or if you’re going to the grocery store, ask if there’s something you can get them. You will make that person feel loved and appreciated and retrospect, feel good yourself.
- Wake up with a grateful heart: Every morning be grateful for the life you live, including loved ones in it. By having this mindset, it will be easier for you to achieve happiness and be content. You do not need to bend backwards to show someone that you care and love them but with simple gestures such a hug, or an “I love you” works wonders. It can be tiresome to live with someone with depression and naturally show disregard to them. However, act in a way that shows genuine concern for the other and not internally keeping score. Although your loved one may not fully know or see how much you are trying, but you know it is one way you show them you are grateful and caring.
To show your loved one that you care takes a conscious effort on your part. It will require you to mentally challenge yourself and expend energy to take that step. However, like most people, they appreciate and need occasional display of caring. Remember those that are near and dear to you and show effort to display your care and affection. Try to do this at least once a week; if not, every single day.