Monday 22 April 2013


“If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather.

Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.”
    Stephen Fry
Why do people undervalue and underestimate the power of a small gesture of kindness? How come we can't seem to find a moment or two in our busy lives to let someone that we care about know just that - that we care?
One of the wonderful benefits of being open about my diagnosis of depression and building strong social networks is that I get support from some really wonderful people.: family, friends, work colleagues, and my Partners For Mental Health community. 
By its very nature, depression is isolating. It pulls you away from "life" - your hobbies, your work, your friends & family. Depression wants you all to himself, just the two of you, suffering in painful darkness, all alone. Social connection can literally be a lifeline.
If you build a strong social network in your well days, it'll be there for you in your days of illness. And if you ask for help from that network, you'll get it. Right? Well, that's mostly true...
Here's the reality. Some people won't reach out to you. I am not quite sure why. Stigma and misunderstanding play a part, certainly. But I do have some theories:
* They don't know what to say. Or, they are afraid they'll say the wrong thing. Instead, they say nothing at all. Ouch.
* They don't make the time to connect because life gets busy. So they tell themselves that you won't notice if they don't call or email. Ouch again.
* They don't believe that what you are feeling and experiencing is real. These are the "non-believers", the it's-all-in-your-head people (Let's be honest, it's probably best that these people aren't around in your time of need!). Double ouch.
I am writing from experience. This has happened to me before and it's happening now, as I ride out another depressive episode. I am actually kind of low maintenance in terms of what I need from my friends and family right now. I am not asking for much - just an email to say "I'm thinking of you." That's it.
Maybe I am being greedy. I have already received a lot of that and it is appreciated more than I can possibly express. The disappointing part is when you don't get that small, simple gesture from people whom you consider friends.
If you are one of those people who just don't know what to say, how about starting there? I truly don't expect anyone to really understand what I am experiencing, not even those who also suffer depression and anxiety, because everyone is different. The need for comfort and a sense of belonging, however, is universal. So how about saying, "I don't know what you are feeling but I am here for you and I care."
Social support is a critical tool in the recovery process. As Stephen Fry said, "It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.” 
So now I will focus on the love and support surrounding me and the angels in my life who show themselves to me in times of good health and in the dark times, too. You are truly noble and kind!

KB xo

P.S. Dedicated to all of you who have my back - you know who you are and more importantly, so do I!

For more information about the power of social connection, check out the PsychCentral site.


  1. I get where you are coming from, totally. I don't know you but I care anyhow. I am sending a big hug across the Rockies and to you. Take care of yourself and I hope things improve quickly.


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