If there's one thing that we as a modern civilization need to relearn, it is that when you can be anything, be kind. Be mindful of the struggles that other people are going through. Make sure you always have time to treat them right and with sympathetic love.
Remind people with depression that you love them
You don't need to do much more than that.
Remember that it's the people most often laughing or smiling that are deflecting or trying to hide the true reality of their feelings. Don't you ever feel like the clown of your group is compensating for something?
But if you don't ask, what if they are? How are they going to be comfortable enough to open up about their mental health struggles if you don't give them a chance to ask?
Depression and anxiety are words that are so often flaunted about in social media with a vaguely problematic tagged post by an influencer that sort of manages to miss the point.
Either way, there's so much work still to be done to de-stigmatize mental health issues and symptoms. It's not always cute therapy tattoos and wholesome, life-affirming therapy anecdotes, and epithets.
That said, the best solution is love and intimacy, if you can make the time
The way to happiness is not any one thing, nor is it the solution to things like depression. They're often forged out of years of self-hate, confusion, and an inability to talk about the things that plague them.
It's not something easily unpacked. Or recovered from. It's certainly not something that's chosen or a cry for help. Don't labor under any misapprehensions that depression is something suffered lightly just because it's silently suffered.
That's not how it works. It's possibly the most frustrating of illnesses to experience and be crippled by. Make no bones about that. Suicide isn't a joke or the subject of a cringy TikTok, believe me.
Also, don't tell me to go for a walk or get some fresh air in my lungs. I appreciate where it's coming from, but there's only so many times I can hear that without wanting to gut someone. Violently. The solution? Demonstrate that you love me. Reassure me that I'm a human being who is valid on my own.
Warts and all
It just shows that you don't really believe the extent and scope of what I'm going through. 'it will get better' and 'no emotion is permanent' is all well and good as a platitude to make yourself feel better about yourself. Or like you're helping. But it does nothing for me.
If anything, it riles me up and renders me less able to think calmly and collect my thoughts together. But you don't know that. And that's fine, I can't expect everyone out in the public to know my condition and precisely how to avoid triggering me. But that's precisely it.
My mental health is not about you
The world does not revolve around you. It's not something that you have or haven't done. I'm very aware that it's something that my mind spirals with. It's not just 'in my head' but that's where it starts.
And make no mistake, that's not where it ends. Sometimes it manifests in anxiety stomach aches or cramps. Sometimes the numbness of reality can mean that things that normally would hurt a person make me struggle to even break the surface.
So no, it's not because you didn't sit with me at lunch. Maybe that bankrolled a truly rubbish day into a triggered moment, but don't make this about you. Also, while I'm here, tough love is just as bad and patronizing as pandering to me and walking on eggshells.
Even though I may not feel very much like it, I'm still a human being.
Please treat me as such
I may not have the energy to deal with you or thank you, but being loved and treated properly are important.
I just want respect and reassurances of who I am. And that person is worthy of and will receive love and attention.