Wherever you go

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I have been thinking of writing this article for years now. But I didn’t really know how to start, what to say, or if I even wanted to talk about this.
But I think I have to. It is a very serious matter, not a very happy one though, but it is something that touches many, many people although no one really ever talks about it… so, I decided to finally write this post about sadness and depression

I apologize in advance for my English and the probably numerous mistakes…

 

 

 

 

 

Before starting, I want to be clear that I am not a doctor, I am not a psychologist, I don’t really know anything about the scientific part of depression, but let’s say that – for some reasons that I will keep for myself – I know a lot about the human aspect of it. Also, each human being has its own reactions to life and what it includes, so what I am going to say is not applicable to everyone…

The purpose of this article is for those who don’t suffer of depression to better understand victims, to recognize when someone suffers and to be as helpful as possible.
Also, I hope it will somehow help people who suffer of depression and deep sadness to open their hearts to someone and to support them to take care of themselves, or at least to let someone doing it for them…

First of all, I would like to make a clear distinction between being depressed and “simply” feeling blue as we all do as human beings.
Indeed, we ALL have some bad periods in life : doubts, loss of a beloved, professional issues… it happens to everyone and that just means that we are alive and that life is happening.
Being depressed is much more than “just” feeling sad or bad for a period.
Depression is a sneaky b*tch that comes into your life without you noticing it. It’s like a weight in your mind which seems light when you first realize it’s here. As it is light, you don’t really pay attention to it and you tend to think that it’s gonna leave the same way it arrived : fast and by itself. You know, it’s probably just a bad period…
But with days passing, the weight gets heavier and at some point it is so heavy for your mind that you start feeling this weight in your body.
That is one of the reasons why depressed people sleep a lot. Like basically as soon as they reach home after work or school. Until they can’t even leave their bed in the morning…

So, yep, anormal sleeping hours might be a sign that there is something wrong. There are two reasons for that :

The first one : being depressed is really, REALLY exhausting for the mind as it makes the person thinks a lot about negative stuff (for some people it makes them stop thinking, it depends…), but it is also really exhausting for the body as the person needs to keep acting normally in front of people. They have to keep smiling, keep pretending that everything is good because they don’t want anyone to ask questions, sometimes because they think that being depressed is a sign of weakness and feel ashamed, sometimes because they don’t want you to have mercy and pity for them, sometimes because they don’t want you to be worried for them…
Also, as I said before, depression is like a very heavy weight and at some point the whole body has to fight to carry this weight everyday. Since depression usually prevents them to feel any pleasure, they will also probably stop eating, which will make them even more exhausted than they already are…

The second reason why depressed people usually sleep a lot : unconsciously, the brain makes them feel sleepy so they don’t have time to think about what is wrong and this way they avoid bad thoughts… It’s a kind of self-protection, a strategy between the brain and the mind to keep them alive. Unfortunately, when they wake up, they still feel as bad as before they fell asleep…

Who laughs a lot… isn’t necessarily happy. As I said before, it’s easier to pretend that everything is fine rather than talking about what is wrong. So, basically, sad people tend to make more jokes than “normally happy” people.  It’s probably a way to hide sadness and it also helps to see other people smiling and laughing thanks to you. I am not saying that every person who laughs a lot is depressive, not at all, but it can be a sign as well as sleeping a lot.

Being deeply sad and depressed is really hard to handle, but talking about it is 100 times harder. It is not always easy to find the right words to talk to someone who turns to you when feeling so bad, so here are some things that you should or should not say if you want to help someone who open their heart and mind to you :

I would say that the first thing to do is to tell the person that she/he made the right choice by coming to you and that from now she/he isn’t alone anymore. You should never force someone to talk to you but you should always encourage them to do so and tell them you’re glad they did talk to you.

Also, since we’re here, I would like to highlight something important in our everyday life that seems really basic and normal to me but which obviously isn’t for everybody :
When someone talks to you about something – basically anything, just keep it for yourself. No one needs to know someone else’s secrets, and sharing it makes of you a really poor soul person with no value at all.

The second – and crucial – thing to do is to LISTEN. It’s important to understand that there is a difference between LISTENING and HEARING. Most people listen to a few words before starting to just hearing a voice, thinking of what they are going to answer to the first few words they’ve listen to. But a person who took the hard step to talk needs you to listen, not to answer.

Here comes the next advice : you need to keep in mind that no words can heal a pain and most of the time people make things worse by being clumsy.
Telling a depressive person that “everything is gonna be fine”, “everyone is feeling bad sometimes” or WORSE talking about yourself is one of the worst things you can do.
When someone is feeling bad/sad/depressed, they need at first a ear to listen and a shoulder to rest. No words are necessary. As a listener, you have the right to have no words to say, you are in a delicate position and it’s normal to feel uncertain about what to answer.
Hugs are, in general, appreciated because they give the feeling of sharing the weight of depression and thus helps to feel better.
I would also add that it is unnecessary and thoughtless to remind someone of everything they have in order to make them feel better : “you have a family”, “you have no financial issue”, “you have a house”, “you have everything you need”… Besides making the person feeling even worse, there won’t be any good consequences. As if we don’t already know what we have…

However, depending on the reason why the person is feeling so depressed and how much you know this person, you can then tell her/him that their are people who love them, who care about them and who need them around. For example, if someone tells you “I am useless”, “No one cares about me” or “no one would care if I disappear”, in this case you can remind them of their beloved but only if you are sure they have someone who cares about them. If you don’t know about their friends or family, don’t talk about them as you have no idea if it is really false when they say they have no one…

Even if most of the time there is a specific reason why people feel bad – they lost their job, their lover, a family member… – some people don’t have an “understandable” reason to be sad, but that is not your place to judge.

If you wanna help someone who you know is sad, taking them to a quiet place, letting them talk (or not talk) and hugging them can be a good idea. Forcing them to talk, taking them to crowded and noisy places is not. Don’t try to make them forget about what is wrong. It would be like putting a plaster on an infected wound… It hides the problem but doesn’t solve it and can even make it worse.

What is complicated with depression is that for some cases it works by periods. After they’ve been feeling like life was not worth it and they better leave this world, depressive people slowly start feeling better for no obvious reasons. Then they feel completely free of sadness. And one day, it’s back. They don’t know how, they don’t know why nor for how long. They haven’t seen it coming and there was no sign at all. But one day they realize that it’s always gonna be here with them, wherever they go, whatever they do…
Some depression periods are gonna be short but very complicated to deal with, sometimes it’s gonna be longer but less intense, sometimes it’s gonna be a few days where living doesn’t seem like an option anymore…

From an outsider point of view, depressive people can sometimes be seen as an unstable person with personality issues. Because they are… Their thoughts are directly influencing their mood and their words and actions will naturally reflect their mood swing. If you love someone who has a depressive past or present, you should be patient and encourage this person to talk about it, but never forcing her/him…

Finally, if you are feeling bad, sad, depressive, and you don’t know who to talk to but you feel the need to talk, please, PLEASE, feel free to contact me. Asking for help doesn’t mean that you are weak, it is not a shame and NO ONE can judge you for that !
I know how hard it is to find someone who won’t talk about themselves to compare their life with yours, I know how hard it is to find a person who will listen to you rather than just hearing you, and I know how hard it is to fight to find a reason to stay alive…
If you talk to me, you’ll be listened, you’ll be safe, your story will be safe, and I’ll carry with you the weight of your depression. 

If you don’t feel like talking, you can write, for you, for someone you love, for everybody, or for nobody. Thinking is something, picking words to describe how you feel and look at those words on a screen or on a paper is something different. It sometimes helps a lot.

But please, I’m begging you, if you start thinking that life is not worth it, let me help you…

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