1. Check in. Just to say hi. Don’t get offended if we don’t respond right away or send you to voicemail, but knowing you’re thinking of us will mean a lot.
2. Send positive affirmations. Depression destroys any semblance of self confidence so hearing genuine compliments from someone is always uplifting and encouraging. Some examples include:
I love you.
You are not a burden.
I’m proud of you.
3. Be inclusive. Keep inviting your friends with depression to do things, even if they continually say no. We want to be included, even if we don’t have the energy to go.
4. Help distract. Sometimes the best option is to NOT talk about what’s going on. This especially helps me when I’m spiraling. Join us in binge watching a TV show, ask us ‘would you rather’ questions, or offer to get/make food.
5. Be present and show up. One of the best things my friends have done for me is sit next to me – even if it was in silence, even if I fell asleep. There doesn’t need to be an agenda.
This list isn’t inclusive – it’s just a start. For those who may not fully understand mental illness, spend some time researching symptoms, treatment, and struggles of those who have been diagnosed. If you do have depression, anxiety, or any other mental illnesses, let me know in the comments how your friends best support you!