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Depression is Not a Dirty Word...

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

But it is a hard thing to navigate all by yourself. It's important to reach out to someone when it gets overwhelming. Being able to ask for what you need is something I'm trying to learn.

Hi, I’m Geanne and I suffer from depression at times. I take a low dose anti-depressant, and it does help. Sometimes it seems, I have to fight my way through it.

Taking steps toward self-care, I decided to start journaling after a long hiatus and the Universe gave me a gift!

books in a cabinet
open cabinet

While looking for a new journal, I chose a blue composition book out of a stack and tried to close the cabinet door, but this clunky old notebook was in the way. When I took it out, I saw “Abundance” written on the cover.

I laughed and said “OK Universe! I get your nudge!” It was more like a shove - in the direction I needed right now.

Opening it, I read about a mindset I had almost forgotten! These were notes I took while doing a 21-day Meditation Challenge in May of 2020. Those were challenging times at the start of the Covid pandemic. At that time it was super helpful to listen to words of peace and then do the writing exercises to lock in the lessons and make it personal.

Apparently, I did 18 out of the 21 days. That’s pretty good for me. I’m not going to judge myself harshly about that, as I normally would. I’m grateful to myself for doing those exercises and leaving them to find when I needed it most.

For the past month or so I’ve been really struggling with depression. Some conflicts have happened and made me feel powerless and bad about myself. I’ve been retreating into my cave, but with my thoughts in there it doesn’t feel safe.

It seems nothing brings me joy and I’m deeply lonely and sad. I’ve been crying while driving and at any little upset. It scares me to feel this way.

I’ve been more isolated than usual. I’ve told a few of my close people that I’ve been feeling down and they offered some kind words. Mostly the conversations stopped. I don’t feel like I know what I need or how to ask for it.

rainbow over the sea

Then I opened this notebook to a random page and received a clear message!

The 11th day of the challenge was called “Feel the Exuberance of the Universe”

It certainly seems like a long time since I’ve felt exuberant and happy. When I think about it though, it was only August. I was very content and happy on vacation in Tennessee. A lot has happened since then.

Then I read: “The more you struggle against your circumstances in this moment – you’re struggling against the entire universe!”

Whoa! That’s exactly what I’ve been doing.

I needed to read each of these words SLOWLY to myself:

Accept your life as it is right now, accept all the people as they are right now. Everything is as it should be. Relinquish having others believe as you do.”

How Can you Help?

I did a little digging to find out more about how to help someone who is depressed. This is a good article that defines the disorder, explaining that it’s more than just a sad mood. It further explains the symptoms and how to help.

Most importantly, don’t minimize the person’s feelings by telling them to stay positive and look on the bright side. That will shut down their attempts to reach out, which is a hard step to take when they're at their lowest point.

It’s difficult to understand exactly what someone’s going through and you can’t be their therapist, but there are ways to let them know that you support them.

When I think about what I’d most like to hear, it’s simply “I’m sorry you’re feeling so down. What do you need? How can I help?” I may not be able to come up with specific ways to help but would feel supported and safe to talk further about it.

Here’s what the doctor in the above article says:

“One of the ways you can help is to ask, ‘How can I best support you in this moment?’ Empower them to share with you the help they need.”

“If they decline, don’t take that as ‘They don’t need my help,’ and back away. Keep offering and asking. If they say no the first few times, they may accept the next time—they may be ready at that point to accept help. And in the meantime, you’re sending the message that you care. By offering help you’re letting the person know that you’re there for them. You’re sending the message that they matter, that their life matters.”

“It’s important to remember that depression is an illness, not a mood that they can talk themselves out of.”

Here’s another article I found that has more specific things to say to someone who is struggling with depression.

Isn’t Google wonderful!? You can literally type in any question and find answers.

I love these suggested empathetic statements:

“Your feelings are valid. I’m here to listen.”

“I’d like to spend more time with you. What can we do together?”

I hope these suggestions help friends and loved ones understand that they are an important part of a support system. They can show their support by accepting feelings and listening without judgement.

For those who understand the pain of depression themselves, know that You Are Not Alone.

Did you know that in 2022 a new 3-digit phone number for suicide help was established?

988 is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

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