My Dad has a shockingly poor understanding of depression, but his response to the revelation that I’m dealing with it has been to send me chocolates and arrange to take me to a zoo, so he obviously understands me pretty well.
"I think one thing you can do to help your friends who are depressed is to reach out to them not in the spirit of helping, but in the spirit of liking them and wanting their company. “I’m here to help if you ever need me” is good to know, but hard to act on, especially when you’re in a dark place. Specific, ongoing, pleasure-based invitations are much easier to absorb. “I’m here. Let’s go to the movies. Or stay in and order takeout and watch some dumb TV.” “I’m having a party, it would be really great if you could come for a little while.” Ask them for help with things you know they are good at and like doing, so there is reciprocity and a way for them to contribute. “Will you come over Sunday and help me clear my closet of unfashionable and unflattering items? I trust your eye.” “Will you read this story I wrote and help me fix the dialogue?” “Want to make dinner together? You chop, I’ll assemble.” “I am going glasses shopping and I need another set of eyes.” Remind yourself why you like this person, and in the process, remind them that they are likable and worth your time and interest.-
Talk to the parts of the person that aren’t being eaten by the depression. Make it as easy as possible to make and keep plans, if you have the emotional resources to be the initiator and to meet your friends a little more than halfway. If the person turns down a bunch of invitations in a row because (presumably) they don’t have the energy to be social, respect their autonomy by giving it a month or two and then try again. Keep the invitations simple; “Any chance we could have breakfast Saturday?” > “ARE YOU AVOIDING ME BECAUSE YOU’RE DEPRESSED OR BECAUSE YOU HATE ME I AM ONLY TRYING TO HELP YOU.” “I miss you and I want to see you” > “I’m worried about you.” A depressed person is going to have a shame spiral about how their shame is making them avoid you and how that’s giving them more shame, which is making them avoid you no matter what you do. No need for you to call attention to it. Just keep asking. “I want to see you” “Let’s do this thing.” “If you are feeling low, I understand, and I don’t want to impose on you, but I miss your face. Please come have coffee with me.” “Apology accepted. ApologIES accepted. So. Gelato and Outlander?”"
P.S. A lot of people with depression and other mental illnesses have trouble making decisions or choosing from a bunch of different options. “Wanna get dinner at that pizza place on Tuesday night?” is a LOT easier to answer than “So wanna hang out sometime? What do you want to do?”
So much this…
When I’m at my worst, just being invited to drive with you while you run errands is often enough to keep me from doing a complete downward spiral, but please don’t guilt people for not being able to hang out… It’s the worst feeling of shame for having depression in the first place on top of worrying that you will lose those you love for being a shitty friend.
oh wow all of this so so so much
I will also point out that depression comes with a lot of lethargy, which means if you ask you really are quite likely to get a no. When you’re at the bottom the smallest thing can seem like a lot of effort, so minimising that by arranging to meet close to them or offering a lift can make a huge difference. Side note: if they have anxiety, this doesn’t mean hanging out at their place - playing host is a super stressful thing for some.(via echoing-artemis)
When I decided to get a literary tattoo, I went looking through my bookshelves to find A SINGLE favourite. I couldn’t do it. This tree includes quotes from “The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss, “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern, “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austin, “Oh the Places you’ll go” by Dr. Seuss, “Ella Enchanted” by Gail Carson Levine, “A wind in the Door” by Madeline L’Engle, “Romeo and Juliet”, William Shakespeare, “The Time Traveller’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger, “Kushiel’s Dart” by Jacqueline Carey, “The Big Orange Splot” by Daniel Manus Pinkwater, “Gone with the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell and “Horton Hears a Who” by Dr. Seuss. Done by Eric Brunning at Lotus Land Tattoo Shop in Vancouver, BC.
this is incredible
#you know this some real shit cause if you’re in the rain for like five minutes in jane austen you get all sick #and have to be ‘bedridden’ and ‘fussed over’ #so he went out after her in the regency equivalent of a shootout just to be like #’I LOVE YOU BUT YOUR FAMILY IS POOR AND EMBARRASSING’