Chronic long-term depression is isolating even if your friend is receiving appropriate treatment. Appropriate treatment usually includes medication, and often some form of therapy. Too often, people with depression are under-treated or not treated due to financial reasons/shame. Families can be cruel to people with chronic depression.
It’s excruciatingly difficult for people with chronic depression to open up to new people. Please do not befriend someone with chronic depression if you can’t hang in for the long haul. If emotional ups and downs, talk of hopelessness, and inability to take steps that might aid in lessening the depression frustrate you, just walk away. Befriending someone with depression, lecturing them, telling them about people who have it worse, not talking to them for days because you’re annoyed with their illness is worse than not getting close. We have plenty of peripheral friends. We’re used to peripheral friends. Feeling that we finally have a close friend and losing them because we cannot snap out of depression only sets us back.
Tough love? Do you think that we haven’t been inundated with tough love by people who came before you? Do you think, that if tough love worked, we’d still be depressed?
Also, we are not using depression to get attention. Trust me. We would much rather have no “attention” and be healthy than be depressed.
Paralyzed by depression . . . yes, in many cases. Although, your encouragement can get through to us, if you’re willing to stick it out. Many of us have been struggling in the bog of depression for so long that just lifting a foot briefly is a victory.
But don’t come into our lives and get impatient after two months (two whole months, versus decades of depression) write us off as “toxic people,” and drop us. I’ve read and heard too much happy horseshit about “only surround yourself with people who give off light because” blah blah blah something trite and stupid.
We’re not regular people. We’re not projects. We’re people with an illness, an illness that’s difficult to treat and may last the rest of our lives. We have our good days and bad days, just like anyone else with a chronic illness. We can be your dearest and most loyal friends if you make an effort to understand our illness instead of dismissing it as malingering.