I don’t generally want to comment on what is best for someone who is depressed or anxious. Every person is different and they have their own way of dealing with things. What works for me might not work for someone else. Same way, what worked with one person you know will not necessarily work with someone else. Infact from what I have read, two depressive episodes are also different from each other and we cannot rely on same things to work the second time. While it is super important to speak to people about mental health and care about betterment of people we love, it does not have to coincide with unsolicited advise. There are some clear DO NOT DO which everyone should be aware of. These are not only applicable to people who are depressed or anxious, but also to anyone who is upset or feeling low. Anyone who is sad should not have to hear these things. As per personal experience, these are very hurtful and even triggering in some cases.
Do not say/do these things to anyone who is sad, depressed or anxious:
Anything that negates or minimizes their feelings – invalidation is the most common thing people do indirectly or directly. What a person is going through ia best known to them, do not say or do anything that suggests their feelings are not valid
Dismiss the signs – there are numerous changes that can be spotted in someone’s behavior when they are depressed, do not dismiss it thinking it is a phase. It does not always heal with time.
Making it about yourself – this is again a very common mistake and something people do not intend to do but end up doing. When someone is expressing their feelings, never make it about yourself in any manner. The focal point should always be the person who is suffering.
Comparing it to others – Never suggest that they are going through something someone else had and force them to follow someone else’s model. It is a very subjective case for people, even if the scenario appears same to you no two brains work same.
Anything apathetic – It is better to not speak to someone who is depressed than to express apathy. More likely than not, a depressed person already feels burdened and apathy can only add to it. It can make them feel unloved which is the exact opposite of how they should be feeling.
Asking them to snap out of it – depression is not something that can be snapped out of. Do not ask people to shake off the sadness, cheer up, be happy. They want to but are unable to, us saying it will not make it happen.
Forcing them to try – while it is understandable that you want someone you love to recover, us forcing them to try harder will not yield the desired results. Adding pressure is not helpful in anyway to someone who is depressed.
“There are bigger problems” – BIG NO! Do not tell them that their reason or problem is small. They know there are bigger problems in world, for them their problem is so consuming that it does not allow them to step into any other avenue. This will only make them feel worse.
“You are only thinking about yourself” – that is the problem, sherlock! They cannot get out of the loop which makes them sad. If you suggest or say anything that shows they are selfish, you are effectively adding to the problem.
We all know that depression is a mental health condition and we must never forget that when speaking to someone who has it. Just like you cannot say “snap out of it” to a cancer patient, it cannot be suggested to a depressed person either. So do not suggest anything that you would not to a physically ill person. Listen to these people who are going through issues, give them your time, ask them how you can help, make them feel like they have someone to bank on. Only they can get themselves out of the problem completely, you have to only be there in any capacity they require. Do not try to be a therapist, that is a professional’s job. Be a friend, loved one that you are and do things in that capacity.
It’s my favorite month! Yayyy! I love January, I do think it is the best month. It is hardly to do with the fact that it is but my birth month. Maybe some part of it is related to the fact but majorly it is because January always feels so fresh. It indicates start of something new, we are all excited with high hopes and high spirits! Most importantly, I always have some trip planned during this time. That makes it my most favorite time of the year. That and ofcourse winter season. I mean, in bombay, we hardly feel cold but all the same I love it.
However, right now it is not cold and it breaks my heart that I have nothing planned, no trip in sight so far. It just makes me sad every now and then. I know there are bigger worries but a heart wants what it wants! Waking up anxious every morning even though I only fall asleep because I am tired of thinking and overthinking how this entire year could be a dud because of how it has started. There are some parts which are good but when what you love the most goes wrong, the other niceties just fade. You know what I mean? All I want is to not have my head so heavy and anxious all the time. It is starting to physically hurt.
Sometimes I think it is also because I expected this year to be extra special, every occasion of this year to be celebrated by doing what we like, doing what makes us happy. I hate celebrating my birthday, I do, which is why I always planned a trip and ran away to places where no one knows it’s my birthday. It served two purposes, I was traveling and no one around fussed about birthday. It was the only way I looked forward to my birthday, every year. Since last 6 to 7 years or maybe more. It was either that or I went to work where no one knows my birthday. That is the tradition. While 2021 is a small milestone for me personally, clearly universe has other plans. I dread each day as I get closer to my birthday about being forced to celebrate it. The anxiety is real and it makes me weep.
Ugh, this post is so sad, I hope I write again soon in this month itself and have something nicer to say. I really don’t want January to be like this. It sucks.
When someone is anxious, in distress, worried or just down, our first instinct is to want to help them. While the intention is noble, if we do it in the wrong way we might just be ruining it further. I am someone who is still learning how exactly can we help others or even ourselves in the correct way when having a bad mental health day or a week, because it is not the same for all. The entire internet is filled with slogans, videos, tweets telling you what you SHOULD do to fix what you feel. Even writing that sentence seemed wrong on so many levels. I could understand placing a “should” when you are talking of a black and white situation. Mental health is not black and white. It is big blob of grey or maybe blue (haha, get it?). Not all humans react to mental health help in same way, which is why we have professionals. These professionals have said we don’t know everything about our brain yet and mental health is evolving everyday. Yet, there are some people around us who will say “snap yourself out of it”. I suggest you snap them out of your life, for sometime atleast. While snapping out might have worked for some, it might not work on others. Nothing ever has to be “SHOULD”, even more so when you are not at your full capacity. Making it compulsory by adding a should we might just be adding to the stress. Hence, the title. I heard it on a random podcast and it is now my favorite line ever!!
Our body and mind don’t have to work the same way daily, ask yourself what you are capable of doing, on such days especially, and do not push it. Your mind is asking for a day off, allow it. It’s that time you need to show yourself some love. Do what works for you, whether it is as lame as watching garbage tv or as profound as journaling.
You do you!
PS: Watching garbage tv is the best! 10/10 I recommend.