There’s almost too many things that this blog could be about. I have so much I want to say and to put across, but the main thing I need to communicate is what it’s like living with depression. What it feels like, what it sounds like, what it tastes like. ALL OF IT. If you’re reading this and you can kind of grasp what I’m talking about already, I need you to remember that depression is SO COMMON and for many, a normal and routine part of their lives now. All I’m going to do is express what works for me, what doesn’t work for me. I want to use this for good, not for nothing.
It was about a year ago I got my diagnosis that I have depression. The first few weeks were really intense, because all they were filled with is sadness. But I need to encourage you that actually, depression is something that is really character building. I know, cliche right? But it’s so so true. If I look back on the girl I was this time last year, I would see someone much weaker and much less focused that the person I see now. I made it to uni, and I have some incredible people in my life. I’m a Christian, and my faith has only strengthened this last year. God is GOOD.
If you’re reading this and you’re supporting someone who has any sort of mental health problem, not just depression, I want you to know that you’re not alone. 1 in 4 people will suffer from mental health problems in their lifetime – so you’re bound to know somebody who’s had some reckless chemistry playing about with their thoughts and their emotions. I want you to know that you are a good, extremely valued person. People are the PERFECT gift for someone who is suffering in any kind of situation. In my experience, when it has been the darkest, the love that my friends and family have for me has shined through the brightest. Hold on to that. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends or family members, whoever it may be, what it is that they need from you. It might be a hug, it might be someone to eat ice cream with. You just don’t know how helpful you can be unless you ask. You CAN help, and believe me, you will.
So step 1? I wasn’t really planning on giving a break down on how to help someone. But it seems like a good start for a blog series. Step 1 on how to support someone with mental health problems? Ask them how; ask them what they need.
One of my favourite Bible verses that has got me through this last year is this: “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” – John 1:5. I truly believe that I have been blessed by God with some gorgeous people who can help me see that light. Believe me, my best friend has been AMAZING. For the fellow Christians out there, Jesus is working through this and in this and TURNING IT FOR GOOD. I believe this, and I know this to be true. So for the other Jesus lovers out there, get into your Bible. (totally preaching this to myself too, by the way. I’m studying theology and even that hasn’t kicked me into reading my Bible enough!) But whatever your faith persuasion, you can still be that light for someone. You can love them, you can support them. You can ask them.