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How to Deal with Depression in Others

Payton Whittaker, Editor in Chief

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Depression is a real mood disorder and, according to American Psychiatric Association, those who suffer from it struggle to be happy and lose motivation to do activities they used to find joy in.

Imagine waking up and not being able to get out of bed. Literally. It’s not that they don’t want to get up, in fact, they want nothing more than to be able to get up, get dressed and go to school like any other person. But having depression is like having permanent restraints around your arms and legs that have a mind of their own. One minute, these restraints allow you to laugh and go have fun with friends and the next you’re fighting against their refusal to complete a simple task such as putting a shirt on which then becomes almost impossible.

I don’t have depression so I can’t relate. In fact, I have a hard time understanding those who suffer from the condition. My best friend has depression and it’s hard watching her struggle and not knowing what to do about it. I have never felt more helpless than when I watched my best friend cry on the floor of her bathroom on New Year’s Eve.

I wanted to ask her why she was crying. I wanted to pick her up and force a smile on her face but I couldn’t. I knew that whatever I said or did wouldn’t help and I didn’t want to accidentally make it worse.

I began to get frustrated with her. I began to think awful things. “Why aren’t you happy?” “There’s nothing to be sad about.” “Your life is great.” “Stop being sad.” “Get over it.”

Of course I never said any of these things to her, but she knew. And I hated myself for feeling this way. I hated that I didn’t know what to do. I hated that she wasn’t happy. I hated that it was her, my best friend.

I realized that the only thing that I could do for her was to ask her questions and listen to her about what was going on in her head. She knows I don’t understand and I know that may never change. I never pretend to understand because that will hurt her.

So for those of you who are close to someone with depression or anxiety, the best thing that you can do is to be there for them and make sure they’re getting the help they need. Talk to them about your life, ask for advice, give them a purpose. Because even though you may not have the condition, you have the ability to help those who do. Don’t pass up the opportunity.

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