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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Support Groups » Depression and not-exactly-helpful friends

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Author Topic: Depression and not-exactly-helpful friends
Member # 44405

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I've been diagnosed with depression, but truthfully, I've likely gone undiagnosed for a few years. In any case, I'm now working on it with a counselor.

However, I've told a friend of mine about feeling sad and lacking energy and many things in my life feel completely hopeless. Her advice: "Oh, just cheer up."
I tried to explain to her that I'm dealing with many real life problems. Education is a hassle, money is short and I might lose my financial aid, I don't have any housing for next fall, I might not find work for the summer and at the same time, if I do, it means no summer vacation at all.
So I have these real stressors that she does not have. Her parents are funding her studies on top of government paid financial aid, she has a permanent apartment, she's not behind on studies, and she has a sturdy network of friends.

When she tells me to just cheer up, or when she tells me to enjoy the little things in life like she does, I feel like she thinks my struggles are no big deal.

I understand she's only trying to help and I appreciate the sentiment, but not necessarily the means of trying to help me. When someone is depressed, I don't think it's helpful to flaunt your own happiness. I understand she's probably trying to be inspiring. I just feel like sinking deeper into my misery, because I don't find joy even in the big things of life, how could I find it in the small ones and be a happy person everyone wants me to be.

Rather than inspired, I feel like I'm getting pressured to at least appear happy so people can quit worrying about me and I can be "normal" again.

Anyone else with similar experiences? I don't really want to criticise my friend about it because I realize she's only trying to help, albeit she only makes me feel worse and more of a failure.

Posts: 239 | From: Europe | Registered: Oct 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Sometimes you might have to explain to people that depression is an illness, and just like someone with a different kind of illness can't usually "just get better," so it goes with depression and cheering up.

If depression is chemical, a person usually needs medication, and no changes to their situation will tend to help. If it's situational, unless that person's situations change, they're likely to stay depressed.

You can make clear you're working on things with a counselor to help you, but that this is a process, and one you can't automatically just fix: if you could, you would have by now.

You can also just ask for her support, making clear in a kind way that being told to cheer up is actually pretty hurtful, since you'd love to, but it just doesn't work that way.

Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 44405

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Thanks, Heather. For now I've just tried not to mention my depression to my friends or anyone aside my girlfriend, and I really try not to unload it on her either because it's simply not fair if I do.
I think I'd rather people forget I am depressed or assume it's over with so it's no longer a concern.

Counseling so far hasn't been extremely helpful. Stating that "Yes, you do have real life stressors in your life." or "You have been through difficult times in your life." doesn't feel too helpful because it's information I already knew to begin with. But hopefully it'll get better and she'll be able to give me advice instead of repeating what I've just told her.

Lately I've felt physically exhausted. I've spent most of my freetime sleeping because I've felt unable to properly get myself out of bed. Not even brisk walks in the morning chill with the dog help me wake up, nor does coffee.
This makes me a little upset with myself, I feel like I should be more productive and get more done, especially on my day offs.

[ 04-02-2010, 06:06 PM: Message edited by: Cian ]

Posts: 239 | From: Europe | Registered: Oct 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 45184

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i know how you feel, i tried to tell my best friend about it and all she could say was 'oh we will get you some happy pills and you will be sweet'.

i think lack of understanding is a major part.

is that a light at the far end of the tunnel or just the train?

Posts: 16 | From: New Zealand | Registered: Dec 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
l calvin
Member # 46939

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I totally get what you are saying- when I was diagnosed with depression- I made sure it was known to my closest friends because it is hard for people to just be sensitive all the time- you have to really tell them how serious your situation is so in return, they may understand you and at least be supportive. They've been quite sensitive, except for one. Who wouldn't stop criticizing and yes, flaunt at her faultlessness. Maybe not everyone can be supportive, maybe not all our friends can be sensitive. We just have to be stronger and focus on our goal of making our lives better.

On another note- may I suggest something that has tremendously helped me over this course of my depression battle. This isn't spam- like I said- I just wanna share.Maybe it's help you too [Smile] \



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Dear Cian,
You might consider reading this book, "The Depression Cure", by Stephen Iliardi. The author isn't one of those late-night television salesmen, and he recommends alternative ways of coping with depression such as exercise and omega-3s.
As a person with depression, I find it kind of weird sometimes when I drop a line that sounds kind of depressed, and some of my friends first stare at me, and then each other, in a mixture of alarm and shock. I don't think non-depressed people get how crippling the disease can be sometimes.For example, sometimes I'd honestly rather be sad than happy. The type of sadness that would be like the purgatory before hell.
I'm glad you're going to counselling and I hope it can help you as it has helped me.

Posts: 25 | From: Kansas, USA | Registered: Jun 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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