It’s not you; it’s me.

Do’s and Don’ts

People want to help me when I’m depressed. But some things they do actually make me feel worse. So here are some tips on how to approach someone who is depressed.

In no particular order–

Don’t tell me to shake it off or snap out of it.

Don’t tell me jokes. Slapstick might get a muted chuckle, though.

Don’t send me internet memes to cheer me up. Seriously. Do not do this. It makes me question why we are friends.

Don’t tell me any variation of “hurry up and feel better because we need you.” That is about the worst thing you can say.

I’m not just in a bad mood.

I’m not grumpy.

I didn’t get up on the wrong side of the bed.

I’m not just having a bad day.

I do not have PMS.

It is not anything you did.

Don’t be too nice to me, because I will cry. I’m an ugly crier.

Don’t command me to feel better. Believe me, if I could feel better, you would be the second to know, right after me.

Don’t try to fix me. I just want to be heard and understood.

I have been through this before. I know what will work. I am not open to suggestions.

No, I cannot go back to bed and read a book and eat candy. I have to go to work.

No, I cannot take a bubble bath and call a friend. I have to go to work.

No, I cannot sit down in the middle of the day and start drinking. That would be about the worst thing I could do. Besides, as I believe I mentioned, I have to go to work.

Don’t ask me what’s wrong. I have a mood disorder. That’s what’s wrong.

My depression is usually proportional to the mania that preceded it. But please don’t accuse me of not heeding my symptoms.

It might seem like everything you say will be the wrong thing. In that case, it’s okay to say nothing. But don’t ignore me. I can see where this would put you in a bit of a bind.

Yes, I am aware that there are medications I can take that will help me with this. Yes, I have some. Yes, I do take them. No, I didn’t forget to take them.

Yes, I have heard that St. John’s Wort has been used to treat depression. No, I don’t take it. See above.

I may have moments where I have a little energy and even laugh a little. This is not a sign that I am all better.

I am not being passive-aggressive.

I am not an attention whore. Nor am I a drama queen.

Don’t minimize my pain.

Don’t tell me that you are having a bad day, too. That is like telling someone with a brain tumor that you have a headache.

Do ask me if I want to talk about it. And let it be okay if I don’t.

Do ask me if you can do anything. And let it be okay if you can’t.

If I say there is something you can do, please do it. Without fanfare. You went to the grocery store. You did not give me a kidney.

Don’t make me feel guilty about being depressed.

I am not ungrateful for your attempts to make me feel better. I do appreciate your concern and love.

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18 thoughts on “It’s not you; it’s me.

  1. “Don’t send me internet memes to cheer me up. Seriously. Do not do this. It makes me question why we are friends…I may have moments where I have a little energy and even laugh a little. This is not a sign that I am all better…Don’t minimize my pain.” I laughed, I cried, and put my fist in the air. Thanks for this. I need to print it out an laminate it.

  2. Pingback: It’s not you; it’s me. | Scarlett's Secret

  3. Pingback: It’s not you; it’s me. | lovebtwnthelines's Blog

      • I’m surprised at myself too! I normally solve that problem by taking temporary leaves from the world…you know, disconnecting the phone, no social networks, hiding out in my bedroom, etc. It seems to keep me from landing behind bars. :)

  4. Pingback: It’s not you; it’s me. « View From My Thoughts

  5. Loved this and reblogged it with some additional comments. I think each of these have happened to me (minus the pms). I wish everyone who has never suffered from depression could read this so they would respond accordingly to what we go through. Possibly the best post I’ve read to date, thanks for this.

    • You’re very welcome and thank you for the reblog. I too have been fortunate to find a validating therapist and she is probably the sole reason I’m alive right now. I call her my “verbal Xanax”…she’s worked some serious magic that no pill ever could. Thank you for your kind words. :)

  6. Pingback: I Know Something You Don’t Know (Or How I Fool Me By Thinking I Fool You) | View From My Thoughts

  7. I just want to tell you that I’m very new to weblog and definitely liked you’re web-site. Very likely I’m going to bookmark your blog . You surely have outstanding writings. With thanks for sharing your web-site.

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