I think one thing you can do to help your friends who are depressed is to reach out to them not in the spirit of helping, but in the spirit of liking them and wanting their company. “I’m here to help if you ever need me” is good to know, but hard to act on, especially when you’re in a dark place. Specific, ongoing, pleasure-based invitations are much easier to absorb. “I’m here. Let’s go to the movies. Or stay in and order takeout and watch some dumb TV.” “I’m having a party, it would be really great if you could come for a little while.” Ask them for help with things you know they are good at and like doing, so there is reciprocity and a way for them to contribute. “Will you come over Sunday and help me clear my closet of unfashionable and unflattering items? I trust your eye.” “Will you read this story I wrote and help me fix the dialogue?” “Want to make dinner together? You chop, I’ll assemble.” “I am going glasses shopping and I need another set of eyes.” Remind yourself why you like this person, and in the process, remind them that they are likable and worth your time and interest.
Talk to the parts of the person that aren’t being eaten by the depression. Make it as easy as possible to make and keep plans, if you have the emotional resources to be the initiator and to meet your friends a little more than halfway. If the person turns down a bunch of invitations in a row because (presumably) they don’t have the energy to be social, respect their autonomy by giving it a month or two and then try again. Keep the invitations simple; “Any chance we could have breakfast Saturday?” > “ARE YOU AVOIDING ME BECAUSE YOU’RE DEPRESSED OR BECAUSE YOU HATE ME I AM ONLY TRYING TO HELP YOU.” “I miss you and I want to see you” > “I’m worried about you.” A depressed person is going to have a shame spiral about how their shame is making them avoid you and how that’s giving them more shame, which is making them avoid you no matter what you do. No need for you to call attention to it. Just keep asking. “I want to see you” “Let’s do this thing.” “If you are feeling low, I understand, and I don’t want to impose on you, but I miss your face. Please come have coffee with me.” “Apology accepted. ApologIES accepted. So. Gelato and Outlander?”
Maine is perfect and I don’t want to leave. Ever since the date of my departure has been finalized I’ve been a bit of a mess. People have been asking me what’s wrong and commenting on my being antisocial and asking if I’m OK and I feel like that will be the start of another dark period. I thought I had a bright light that might help me through the darkness I can sense is coming but right now I feel like I messed that up too. I was finally starting to feel comfortable and happy and hopeful and now this tiny change and the thought of going home is sending right back in a downward spiral again. I’m going to go from climbing mountains by myself and talking to everyone including strangers on the street to isolating myself in a bed not even able to answer the phone or cook myself dinner. Sorry for the rant!
Well of course you hate your cat. I hate my cat, too. But that’s part of the reason we’re not dog owners. After a crappy day of work, the last thing I want to do is to come home to some tail-wagging bundle of positive energy. No, I want to get myself a glass of wine, sit down on my couch and have an evil-eye staring contest with my cat.
MODERN FAMILY CAN EAT MY BUTT
Woke up in the middle of the night and looked up at the stars and was OK and then slowly transitioned to feeling pretty sad and now I can’t seem to sleep again. Trying not to do anything dumb.
just spotted chris messina (DANNY CASTELLANO!!!) in you’ve got mail and i’m so excited!