I really felt this when I read Annie’s words:
“I, like many I imagine, have searched “how to support depressed friends” and realized, while there are endless valid and well-meaning articles out there covering this, all of them seem to be designed for the friend who is in an emotionally solid place and ready to be someone’s supporter.
Guidance like checking in regularly, making loose plans, helping your friends with bits of daily life and supporting them with finding professional help are all good in theory. But the idea of tackling any of those things to someone handling their own mental illness is… overwhelming.
Am I a bad friend if I can’t do these things? And will I lose all my friendships if we’re both too depressed to stay close?”
As you know, I’ve been quick to share links and even write about what your depressed friends need, and how to help people struggling with their own mental health. What I’ve come to realize more and more is that I am also struggling, and failing at being a very good friend for many of these same reasons. I’m burned out, I’m tired, I have little mental energy beyond just getting through each workday, and taking care of myself, for reaching out, chatting, or virtually meeting up with people.
In short, I am experiencing exactly what Annie is talking about. I want to reach out and be supportive to my friends, but I haven’t recognized my own struggles. No, I don’t believe I am depressed in a major way, but I’m definitely suffering from anxiety, stress, and it’s exhausting me.
That makes it hard to be the supportive one in any relationship, even though I want to be.
To combat that, I’m going to be reviewing this article a few times, and thinking about how I might still be supportive, and how maybe people in my life be supportive of each other.
There simply aren’t enough completely stable people to go around right now, we need to make the best with the friends we have, where they are now.