Striking the balance between overloading people and suffering in silence:

It is very hard to tell people about the hardships you are going through without being an overall mood crusher. It’s why a lot of people suffer in silence- without support. They are afraid of being turned away. They are afraid of the texts coming in less and less, especially those who suffer from chronic depression. At some point people want and expect a different answer when they ask you how you are doing and start pulling back when they don’t because they can’t handle it.

It is easy to blame this all on bad friends, they don’t love us unconditionally! They should, at least we feel so, but we also have to know that talking about our depression all the time can drag other peoples mood down too making it harder for them to support us and also harder for them to cope.

Hoping to find a balance? It’s possible though, like most things with mental health it is also very difficult.

I think one of the key things in finding the balance is making sure that you are also listening to everything that they are going through and if they are having an easier time with life right now, be sure to congratulate them and celebrate their wins with them as much as you can, even if you’re really forcing yourself to. This is difficult and you might think that you shouldn’t have to, but no relationship should be a one way street. If they don’t want to talk about their wins because they’re trying to be respectful, ask them to share their positivity- it might make you feel better despite what you think, even if you have to ask them to steer clear of certain topics.

Another thing you can do to help them? Tell them of any highs you have. It might be harder to find things to be happy about when your in despair but if you’ve had any good news, even that you just had a banging dinner two nights ago, tell them about it. This helps take some of the pressure of them to find things to talk about that are a little lighter. That’s not to say you can’t discuss the heavy stuff with them, you should find people to share with, but it means that you need to be mindful of the weight you’re shoving off. It’s better to mention a light moment in your life, no matter how small, then joke about your depression. I find the self deprecating jokes way more concerning and off putting of a way to lighten the mood than to mention how your cat fell asleep purring in your lap last night and it made you feel happier for a few minutes. You don’t have to tell them it was short lived, plus, trying to find these moments can really help your mental health because you’ll start searching for them.

One last thing? Try to talk to a few different friends. You can reuse the same happy moments and tell them about different bad moments, especially because you feel like you’re having a lot more of the bad. It’s another way to keep people from being overwhelmed.

It’s hard to do emotional work when your down, but you also have to realize that you are asking them to do emotional work as well and it’s best when everyone puts in a little effort instead of one person doing all of it. If you find yourself one day doing all of your friends emotional work and struggling with it. Try and find a nice way to say “hey, I’m trying really hard to be the friend you need, but if you could occasionally ask me how I’m doing it would mean a lot.” Because friendships, like all relationships take at least two.

And if you’re finding your friends particularly unhelpful? Don’t be afraid to talk to a professional, you don’t have to worry about overloading a therapist- it’s their job.

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