Oftentimes I suspect that many of us, when confronted with the reality that someone we care about, friends, family members, etc. dealing with depression, or other mental health issue, find ourselves afraid of not knowing what to say to them. As if anything but the perfect friend with the perfect words to support them would just push them toward self-harm or in to some sort of worse condition.
This can have a paralyzing effect on many of us. Afraid of doing the less-than-perfect thing, we don’t do anything. Afraid that what we have to say to our loved one won’t be enough, we don’t say anything.
Afraid of being less than perfect, we become nothing. We forget one of the great rules of life, that half of it is “just showing up”. While we try to read and research and find the perfect thing to say and/or do, we’re leaving our friend suffering alone.
Our fear of being less than perfect isn’t protecting our friend from our less than perfectness, it’s depriving our friend of the connections they so desperately need at this time.
You don’t have to know the perfect thing to say. You don’t have to say anything. But you do have to show up if you want to support someone.