For better or for worse?

  • I have a friend who's currently seeking help for depression. I want to support her as a friend. I try to find out more about her thoughts and emotions whenever she's down. However, sometimes I feel the need to be firm with my words to her so that she starts to think from a clearer perspective rather than being stuck in this mindset of self-victimizing. I don't know if I'm being helpful or am I causing her to feel worse. Any thoughts about this?

  • It heartens us to see that your friend has the support of someone that genuinely cares for her wellbeing and it sensitive enough to know how your words can affect her. The first step to supporting a friend with depression, or any sort of mental health condition is to be patient and open-minded to honest conversations. If you're worried that your firmness might be causing her to feel worse, then try asking her directly how your words make her feel without expecting any reply of any kind. Encouraging this sort of honest back and fourth can be very helpful in establishing mutual understanding and creating a safe space between both of you.

  • Community Admin

    @tammiecharitytan This is a tricky one, huh? I find myself in this situation too. What has worked for me is gauging how my friend is at the moment. What state of mind and heart he or she is at. Then if I feel my friend is receptive to hearing what I have to say, then I share. More often than not, it works. But it is a gut-feel sort of approach.

  • Community Admin

    @tammiecharitytan Thanks for sharing. I think I understand what you mean -- it can be hard to decide how 'firm' to be so that we don't end up encouraging the friend to dwell on negative thoughts. For me, I also struggle with that, but I remind myself not to lecture, cause I think depressed people have been lectured enough by many others in their lives/ by themselves. Maybe can try helping her to focus more on her strengths and what she's doing/ used to do well? So she doesn't just see gloomy dark clouds..

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