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5 Things You Can Do When I'm Depressed

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I have bipolar I disorder, and when depression hits, it hits hard. I stay in bed for at least 12 hours a day. If I can manage, I will make the 50-foot journey to the couch to lay down some more. Everyone means well when they ask how they can help, but it puts the burden on me to come up with something, and in the moment, I just can’t. Here are some ideas of things you can do to help a loved one through a major depressive episode:

1. Educate yourself

There are plenty of great articles out there about depression and ways to help. Google it. Learn about the real symptoms of depression. It’s not just feeling “down.” Read the articles I send you. I promise you I have scoured many of them and picked the perfect ones to send you.

2. Be present

Not necessarily physically but be there for me. I am a single woman living on my own. Sometimes I will want you to just come and sit with me and not say anything and just be there. Sometimes I really want to be alone. Text. I may not text back. But I will read it. Call. I probably won’t answer, but leave a voicemail, and I will listen to it. I feel incredibly lonely during this time, whether I actually am or not. So if you don’t call or text or invite me to things even though I keep canceling on you, I will feel even lonelier. Let me know you care.

3. Send food

I do not feel like cooking. I don’t feel like going out anywhere, either. Especially to a restaurant (even fast food) or the grocery store. If you know where I live, drop something off if you are able — either something you made or something from the store I can just put in the microwave and eat. If not, and you know my address, order something and have it delivered (and text me to let me know it is coming). If you don’t know my address, send me an e-gift card to a place that delivers. Any of these will mean way more than you can imagine.

4. Clean up

This is for the inner circle. When depression hits, so does the mess. I am unable to take the trash out or do the dishes or clean my apartment or myself. If I trust you enough to come over and see my mess, help me with some of these things without judgment. I am usually not messy, and it’s embarrassing how messy it can get. Help me with some of my chores so I won’t have as much to do in the aftermath. Bring in my mail for me.

5. Send love

Let me know I’m loved and specifically why. This may seem weird, but I promise that it helps me. Give reasons. I will save those texts or notes and read them over and over. I love handwritten notes. Send me some flowers. Let me know you are thinking about me.

Getty image by marzacz.

Originally published: July 1, 2019
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