It’s not me; it’s you.

There is a generic and unspoken “Do’s and Don’ts” list of friendship…but here are some do’s and don’ts for being friends…with me.

In no particular order–

Do be honest.

Don’t lie to me.

Do trust me (most of the time).

Don’t make promises you can’t keep. I’m okay with an “I’ll try to…”

Do respect me, my life and my journey. It is a given that anything I say to you should be kept confidential.

Do call me out on my bullshit (tactfully).

Don’t ask me a question if you don’t want to hear the answer.

Do say what you mean and mean what you say.

Don’t bottle up the ways I’ve pissed you off/hurt you; talk to me about it so we can resolve it.

Do respect my OCD tendencies.

Don’t assume anything.

Do be kind, but don’t kill me with kindness. I’ll start to think I’m unworthy.

Do keep calm and carry on.

Do be okay with expletives. I have a lifetime supply and a faulty filter.

Don’t talk to me if I have headphones on.

Don’t doubt my ability to find shit out.

Don’t underestimate me.

Don’t fuck with me; I’m not afraid to walk away.

Don’t be afraid to say something to me, just do it tactfully.

Don’t walk on eggshells around me no matter what mental state you think or know I’m in. I may be fragile but I’m not an egg.

Don’t expect me to chase after you if you leave.

Don’t invite me to a pity party; I hate parties.

Don’t get butt-hurt if I don’t want to talk to you. It most likely has nothing to do with you because I would tell you if it did. I probably just need some quiet time, time to isolate and I’ll call you when I’m okay again.

Don’t question me if I ask you to borrow a shovel.

Do provide me with an alibi.

Don’t offer me cliches. (Example: “This too shall pass.” NO! This too shall start running like a scared little bitch when I put on my track shoes and chase it with a sledgehammer.)

Do let me know that you love me and care about me. Just don’t suffocate me.

Do be an “all-weather” friend…rain, sun, hail, thunder, lightening, pigs flying, hell freezing over.

Don’t expect to be with me when I’m at my best if you can’t be with me when I’m at my worst.

Do expect me to be sarcastic. I put that shit on everything.

Don’t ignore me.

Do send a text or message every now and then just to say hi.

Don’t take me for granted. I’m not afraid to walk away.

Do like music. We will never ever get back together if you don’t.

Don’t kick me when I’m down.

Do appreciate the little things I do or give to you because sometimes, I only have a little to give.

Don’t involve me in drama. Save it for the theatre.

Do be prepared for random WTF texts/messages/mail/notes/pictures.

Do taste your words before you spit them out.

Don’t give up on me.

Don’t mistake my silence for ignorance, my calmness for acceptance, and my kindness for weakness.

Don’t ask me to meet you for coffee any time before 11 AM. I am NOT a morning person. As far as I’m concerned, the early bird can have the stupid worm because both mornings and worms suck.

Don’t try to fix me, my problems or my issues. Sometimes I just want to vent. If I wanted you to fix it, I would have handed you a power tool.

Do be yourself.

Do no harm…but take no shit.

Don’t leave me.

Do be okay with a response of “I don’t know.” if you ask me what’s wrong because sometimes, I don’t have a fucking clue.

Don’t fuck with my feelings just because you can’t figure out what’s going on in your own messed up head.

Don’t stop in the name of love.

Do just call to say you love me.

Do stop, collaborate, and listen.

Don’t stop believing.

Don’t forget that I love you.

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.