A friend was recently criticized for being depressed. His friend reminded him that he had a great job, a beautiful wife, life was going great and he didn’t have any reason at all to be depressed. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon. Those who suffer from depression are often told to “Get over it” or “Suck it up,” or “It’s all in your head.”
But depression doesn’t work like that.
Imagine that you have a friend who limps. Would you ever dream of saying, “Dude, you have a great job and a beautiful family, you eat right, and sleep well, why do you have to limp all the time?” That seems silly because you understand that while all those things are true, there’s something about your friend’s knee that doesn’t work quite right. Maybe it’s arthritis, or a bone spur, or some degeneration of some kind, but whatever it is, it isn’t quite what it’s supposed to be, it’s painful and so he limps. You get it.
Depression really isn’t that different.
Instead of a knee that doesn’t work quite right, there are chemical reactions in your friend’s brain that don’t work quite right. It could be dopamine, or a bunch of other possibilities, but whatever it is, it isn’t quite the way it’s supposed to be and his brain “limps.” Maybe even worse, these negative attitudes are so common that people are afraid to get help, or accept a prescription for medication.
Heck, that describes a host of mental illnesses.
Instead of telling your suffering friends that they should just magically “feel better” why not do the same thing that you’d do for a friend with a limp. Encourage them to see their doctor, or a specialist who treats those sorts of illnesses. Often, like knees, brains with a limp can get a little better with treatment and the right medication.
Don’t just complain that your friend is sick.
Be a friend.
Do something to help.
Now do you get it?