Throughout my life, I’ve been touched by people struggling with mental illness. I’m extremely sensitized to their journey and I’ve chosen to dedicate much of my private practice as a psychotherapist to helping people cope.
However, one of my most precious and dedicated encounters has been as a friend, not as a therapist, because my best friend suffers from depression and anxiety.
We have been friends for a lifetime. So many wonderful times spent together over the years. Also, some very challenging obstacles met with sadness and depression.
Although difficult at times, I’ve been committed to helping her through her darkest moments and lowest points. Trust me — supporting her is not easy. The journey is exhausting, and at times it makes me feel down and overwhelmed. Sometimes, I feel like I’ve lost my partner in crime and crave the fun and easygoing times. Even though I know that the cycle of darkness is temporary, at times I’m desperate to see the light at the end of tunnel. But because I love and believe in her whole heartedly, I am dedicated to her recovery despite the burden.
As many caregivers can attest to, depression is taxing and puts a strain on a relationship, be it a friendship or otherwise. You often feel like you’re walking on eggshells and that saying or doing the wrong thing could result in disaster. The black cloud of depression makes you feel like escaping and being with anyone else but her.
Although, we wish they would just “snap out of it” and stop feeling sorry for themselves, it’s important to remember that depression is an illness, not sadness or self-pity.
And unfortunately, the onset of depression is sometimes unpredictable and the darkness, withdrawal and inability to cope is a symptom not a reaction. People don’t enjoy being depressed. It’s certainly not a choice. If they could just “snap out of it and get over it,” then trust me, they would.