Here is a brief primer on how to deal with depressed people who vomit their depression all over you, much like I did last night.
First, I should clarify that I’m speaking primarily for myself — no one elected me spokeswoman for all depressed people everywhere, and thank dog, am I right? Who wants that responsibility?
What has two thumbs and doesn’t want that responsibility?
So… things you need to understand. I don’t need you to fix me. I mean, I’d love it if you could, but you can’t, because I’m not even sure what that would look like — like I said, I’m so far gone that objectivity has been defenestrated long ago, and I can’t even remember what better would look like.
I don’t want your pity, and I’m not just looking for attention. And I understand that what I do need requires effort on your part, and taking that first step is a conscious effort.
But I’m not going to make it, because I’m having a hard time lifting my head off my pillow, let alone making an effort to engage in conversation or activity.
I realize that I’m not exactly Miss Cheery Happy, and therefore, kind of a buzz kill. But the truth is, somewhere deep inside me, behind this veneer of self-loathing and defeat, is a snarky, funny, intelligent, deliriously mad and extraordinarily interesting human being. Unfortunately, you’d never know that by looking at or talking to me right now.
So what I need — what I really need — is to get through this. I need you, whoever you are, to draw that out of me.
I don’t want to talk about my depression. I’m not looking for a shoulder to cry on, or counselling, and I don’t want to sit around feeling sorry for myself.
I want to laugh. I want to sing. But I right now I don’t want any of those things — not really.
Don’t tell me that life is worth living — show me.
I don’t need to hear that you care about me, or that you’re thinking of me — the problem with depression is that the depressed person projects the message that they just want to be left alone, and so that’s what people do — they give the person their space, let them know they care, and then the person goes back to being a leper, hiding in their cave.
If you want to help me through this, treat me like a human being. Tell me the worst joke you know — I love groaners — the less funny they are, the funnier I find them. Engage me in conversation about something you love to talk about — something you’re excited about. Don’t let me mope; don’t let me stew on this.
I have pushed people away, I have isolated myself, because I’m full of shame and self-loathing — mea culpa.
But though you may not understand or believe it, I am so lonely.
I shouldn’t be, but there it is. Part Two of my Confession — I am lonely, even in a room full of people.
So, talk to me. But be warned, any comments expressing sympathy or pity or giving advice about how to deal with depression will be immediately deleted.