Your Friend Is Struggling. How Would You Help?

Posted: November 4, 2014

The fight against depression often ends up being a lone war, because even well-meaning people may not care enough. If you had a friend with  mental health issues, how would you help?

I am sick. I am not stupid, or disabled. I am not crazy. It’s not just stress. It’s not in my head. I am not causing it myself. I am not making it up. I am learning about it and about myself every day. I try my best to deal with the pain. I can still do things for myself. I have managed to make something of myself. I can look after myself. I like that I am independent. But sometimes, I may need your help.

It would mean a ton if you did not take it as my flaw. I am not giving up. For every time I said I can’t take it anymore, I am still here. But sometimes, I forget that I am not weak.

Don’t you need that little boost from time to time? I need it more often than you. Don’t some people get the flu more often than others? I am not weak. It must be my mental immune system.

Don’t you need that little boost from time to time? I need it more often than you.

Sometimes I need your help. Lend a hand. You don’t know how much it could mean.

For those of us who ask for help, we meet 3 kinds of well-meaning people. There’s absolutely no doubting the fact that all three care, and want to help. They are:

  • Will hear you out. Give you a ‘quick fix’ and want you to get over it.
  • Will hear you out. Will analyse the situation, and believe you can do something about it – but you are just not doing it. They believe it’s your fault.
  • The ones that will stick with you, even when you fail.

Then there are the ones who leave. After all, it is advisable to cut out those people who sap you off your energy and affect your zeal. Sometimes I wonder if it’s just the mentally ill one should cut out or are they referring to the terminally ill as well?

If one thinks judiciously, the quote “People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime” does not hugely apply to those with a weak mental immune system. People come into our lives mostly for a season.

Lastly, there are the ones who think that nothing is wrong with you. On some level, I believe that these people are good for us. They may not be the ‘go-to’ people, but they will treat you like any other friend. No patronising, no judgment. In any case the ‘go-to’ people should always be the professionals.

One did not realise the need (or lack) of a support system till a therapist pointed it out. The exact words were ‘there are plans/activities we can work on, but they work best when we involve more people who can be a part of the journey.’ God Bless the husbands, parents/siblings, or just about anyone who commits.

It’s not right to expect a friend to commit to something like this. But I am forever grateful to the friends who have, at some point or another, ‘heard me out’ and done what they could.

It’s not right to expect a friend to commit to something like this. But I am forever grateful to the friends who have, at some point or another, ‘heard me out’ and done what they could. And to this one friend who has stuck. Or have I stuck to him like a leech?  They say real friends are the ones who have done something for you that you can never pay back for.

Thank you. I can never pay you back.

Pic credit: Image of a depressed woman via Shutterstock.

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