Happy New Month. I’m sorry this was supposed to go up 6 days ago but I got slightly busy.
Here it is though.
The second to last instalment to this series about depression.
.How to deal.(for everybody else)
Openness. Availability is key to helping someone who reaches out to you. I’m not saying you drop everything and show up, but a few responses and texts here and there. A few encouraging words every other time.
Be conscious. You can’t say that you never knew someone was going through before it got too serious. You have to be conscious of the signs. The sudden mood shifts. Be aware of the random times when someone seems to be acting a bit different to the norm. You could spot a few posts on social media, you can spot it when someone who’s hell bent on having a good time, suddenly not wanting to be part of things. Does their smile reach their eyes? Do their words seem detached? It’s not always in the physical signs like maybe you noticed that they suddenly wear a tonne of bracelets and have a tendency to keep touching their wrists. Nope. The psychological hints are the hardest to spot but they can be traced no less.
Smile. Refer to Behind the Smile (4) to see what is so great about a smile. See the human body is set up so interestingly. It copies what it sees, pretty much subconsciously. See a frown, and your face automatically starts frowning. See someone laugh genuinely and you’ll be trying to fight back your own laugh. See someone crying and your eyes will start to water. See a smile, and regardless of the thoughts racing through your mind, your mouth curves upwards into a smile.
Don’t talk about yourself. It’s not about you. I know we’re plagued with the “Even Me” syndrome where we must relate everything someone said in order to understand a situation. You can’t pull that stunt when someone finally opens up to you about their state of mental disarray. To them it simply sounds like you’re not interested; even when you are. Maybe we can tone down the even me.s in such situations.
Listen. This should have been first/ second to being conscious I suppose. Most times, someone who’s depressed just wants somebody else to listen for a change instead of constantly hearing their own thoughts. So listen. Be the open ears they seek. By the time someone gets the courage to speak to you, it’s been such an arduous hurdle to overcome so please listen.
>I need to talk to you. I have something to finally say. I’ve been meaning to say this once I figured it out <<
Save your advice. I keep reiterating that they just want to share. They don’t need your advice especially when you have not a clue about what thoughts plague their mind. The advice is similar to talking about yourself; so unless you’re professionally trained, have none of that “When I feel low, I do such and such”. It’s hard not to give advice but you must resist the urge.
Build rather than destroy. Many depressed people, in my experience and in my interaction, feel the need to cut food out of their routine or overdo it. Find ways to get them to eat. Don’t offer criticism; they have enough of their own self-blame so this would only make it worse. Also, don’t downplay their condition. “
Why do the small things get to you?” “ It’s just a phase” “ Get yourself together, that’s not how you were raised” “ People out there have bigger problems“ Such questions nullify their disorder and completely try to gloss over their current state of mind.
He used to have recurrent episodes and would shut himself away and not answer the door or the telephone, but if I wrote him a note, and managed to push it under the door, he would tell me later how much it meant to him. Sometimes it was enough to coax him out.
Bring them outside. When you notice they hole themselves up in seclusion, offer them a polite walk, a quiet music listening session on the grass, a random drive even if it’s for grocery shopping….Let them reconnect with nature or something that’s moving and if possible, living and breathing. Just like a wound needs air to finally scab over, so does the mind when it’s thoughts become stagnant.
If you ever find yourself empty from something you cannot know or name, find a stretch of ocean, a field, or a mountainside, or even clouds or trees. Because there are 1000 simple ways to fill your tired soul so you can remember how to be, how to see, and most importantly, how to breath.
Share positivity. The universe has a way of cancelling out the negative energy, especially when it’s in excess. So, share positivity. If someone asks you to tell them something you like about them, do it now and ask questions later. If someone wants you to say something encouraging, just do it. You might never find out exactly what went on in their mind, but you brought some light into the madness that came with the darkness. Take up yoga with them, dance with them, breath life into them through the things that you do.
Patience. Being depressed, someone is more irritable, prone to quickly misunderstand others. So you need patience to deal with this.
Learn their triggers. More so if they’re episodes are recurrent. Let them know when a symptom pops up and point it out. It helps with the “drowning”.
Encourage. Encourage Encourage.
Suggest to them to seek professional help. And be supportive when they do. Don’t steer clear of them; You can offer to accompany them to their appointments without pressuring them to accept your offer.
Love. All we need is love.
Feels like i’m asking you guys to turn into angels ay?
That’s the thing about emotional pain. You can’t say that it hurts here, get some medicine and you’re cured.
It’s deeper than that. It’s deeper than that. It’s deeper than that.
You’re only human.
…. part five …. Behind the Smile(5)
‘Cause you light the way
I got all I need when I got you and I
I look around me, and see a sweet life
I’m stuck in the dark but you’re my flashlight
You’re getting me, getting me, through the night
Kick start my heart when you shine it in my eyes
Can’t lie, it’s a sweet life
Stuck in the dark but you’re my flashlight
You’re getting me, getting me, through the night
From a cool corner of Nairobi,
With love and love and positive vibes as always,