What Should You Say?

I have depression. I am not afraid to admit it. I have been diagnosed with a major depressive disorder that is moderate and recurring, as well as an anxiety disorder and a slight adjustment disorder. I am very comfortable talking about this as I believe that Satan uses the lies that we should be ashamed of these things to make us hold things in and dwell in our own sadness. That is not the way I want to handle it. I want to handle it by being open with my friends, my family, and anybody else that I can help by using my voice in a positive way.The way I choose to use my voice in this post is to inform you of something that may, in fact, shock you.

Not everyone who is depressed is depressed for a reason.

Let me clarify. Most of the time there are circumstances that set off the symptoms of depression. But oftentimes the depression that can follow, sometimes for years, is not completely linked to any one event. Sometimes depressed people just feel depressed. There are times when everything in my life is going right and there is nothing to be unhappy about at all, but I still feel depressed and distant from everyone around me. My life is going exactly how I would want it to, but my brain still tells me that there has got to be something I’m upset about, therefore I should be unhappy. It’s just how my brain works. It isn’t really anything that can be helped.

People who have never felt this way before, however, do not understand this way of thinking. In your mind, somebody who is upset must be upset for a reason, and you want to make it your mission to find out what it is. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that mindset other than the fact that sometimes there isn’t anything to figure out. Nothing makes me more upset than when I tell somebody that nothing is wrong and they keep pressing me for an answer that does not exist. It warms my heart to think that there are people who care enough about me to want to fix me that badly, but if I don’t know what is wrong, how am I expected to tell you?

How, then, should you act towards people who are struggling with depression? I can only answer for myself, as I cannot speak for every person in the world who is struggling. But, in my opinion, the first step is, in fact, to ask what is wrong. There may be something, there may not be. If there is something, talk about it. If there isn’t, don’t press. Simply offer a sanctuary. Offer them a place to talk, to share what they’re feeling, and to know that everything they say is in confidence. Let them know that you are there, that you care, and that you want to help in any way you can. Whether that be talking about what they’re feeling or simply being a friend for them to hang out with during their tough time. Depression can make you feel detached and alone, but having someone take the time to actually prove that they are there for you can make the biggest difference in that person’s life.

I know there are so many things I did not address, and there is no way that I possible can. Depression and anxiety are some of the toughest things in the world to explain, and even tougher to go through. The biggest thing that I can say is just to pray. Pray for peace in the minds of those who are struggling. Pray for guidance in your words and actions as you befriend and offer help to those who are alone. And pray that all of us, those who are struggling as well as those who are not, to put our faith and trust only in the One who deserves it.

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