SOURCE: Sammy Rhodes
Two things aren’t easy: pimping and loving a depressed person. Whether you’re depressed and want to passive aggressively send this to some friends, or whether you have a friend who’s depressed and are about to throw your hands in the air like you just don’t know how to care, here are six tips that might help you love a depressed person a little better:
1. Keep the pin in the shame grenade.
Depressed people feel tremendous amounts of shame. The voice they hear most often in their head is like the anti-Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting: “It’s your fault. It’s your fault. It’s your fault.” The problem is not that they don’t know what they should do. The problem is finding the strength to do it. They’re carrying a heavy load. Don’t be the kind of friend who adds to it. Be the kind of friend who helps lighten it. Don’t patronize, empathize. In the words of Brene Brown, “Shame cannot survive empathy.”
2. Don’t be simplistic.
Depression is like a bruise. Sometimes you know how it got there, and sometimes you genuinely don’t. What makes it hard is that it’s “like a bruise in your mind” (Jeffrey Eugenides, Marriage Plot). Nothing is worse than treating it simplistically. It’s not always as simple as “Take medicine,” or “Go see a counselor,” or “Repent” (usually all three will be part of the healing process). To make one of those the “end all be all” is extremely unhelpful. Help them simplify things, yes. But don’t be simplistic.
3. Take the physical as seriously as the spiritual.
Don’t give a depressed friend a book. Give them a steak instead. Preferably an expensive one. And pair it with a loaded baked potato, a bottle of merlot, and if you want to get really spiritual, a whole pan of Sister Schubert rolls. That’s what God did for Elijah when he was depressed to the point of wanting life to be over. He didn’t give him a lecture, or even a devotional. He gave him a meal and then let him sleep (1 Kings 19:4-7). He didn’t Jesus juke him. He took the physical as seriously as the spiritual. Because sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is take a nap (or a walk, or a meal).
4. Embrace awkward silence.
If depressed people could take a book title for a life motto it would be More Baths, Less Talking (Nick Hornby). If they’re really depressed, the last thing they want to do is talk about why they’re really depressed. Don’t take this as a sign that they don’t want you around. They desperately do. They just want you to embrace the awkward silence with them. It shows them that sometimes it’s ok to sit in silence because life is hard and we don’t have all the answers.
5. Help them take themselves less seriously.
One of the best things you can do for a depressed person is to help them take themselves less seriously. Sometimes when Martin Luther would get depressed to the point of spending entire days in bed, his wife Katharine would dress herself in all black and put on a veil. And when he asked her whose funeral she was going to she would say, “God’s, because the way you’re acting so hopeless he must be dead.” She had a great sense of humor. Humor is actually a vital part of dealing with depression, because if you listen closely enough to laughter you can hear the echoes of hope. Which is why an incredibly wise pastor once told a struggling friend the most important thing he could do for his depression was to watch an episode of Seinfeld with friends every night before bed. “Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly” (GK Chesterton).
6. Give them grace by giving them space.
Depressed people need the space to be alone, yet the security that you’re not going anywhere. Don’t get all up in their grill. Be content to hang out on their back porch while they’re inside on the couch watching their seventh episode of New Girl in a row. They need the space of you leaving them alone, with the grace of knowing you’ll never leave them. It’s the Lord saying he won’t “break the bruised reed, or quench the smoking flax” (Isaiah 42:3) Even though our depression is hard, he’ll be gentle. Even though our depression may never go away, he promises he’s not going anywhere.
Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little course, and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.
National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
The Trevor Project: The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.
Trevor Lifeline - (866-488-7386) - You can call the Trevor Lifeline to connect with a trained volunteer counselor who is ready to listen.
TrevorText - You can text message with a trained counselor on Fridays between 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. (Pacific) / 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. (Eastern). Text the word “Trevor” to 1-202-304-1200. Standard text messaging rates apply.
TrevorChat - If you want to talk with a trained volunteer counselor online, visit TrevorChat. It’s is a free, confidential chat service available 7 days a week from 12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Pacific / 3:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
To understand a worry is to know it calmly and clearly for what it is: transient, contingent, and devoid of intrinsic identity.
By the American Psychological Association’s: Ethnic Minority Issues Caucus, Public Interest Caucus, Society of Counseling Psychology (Division 17), Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues (Division 45), Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity (Division 51)
October 23, 2013
We are social justice-oriented psychologists in the American Psychological Association and we are deeply saddened by the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of George Zimmerman. This tragedy is part of a long and disturbing history within the United States of racial violence against people of color going unpunished. Such violence includes land dispossession and genocide against American Indians, slavery, lynching, indentured servitude and other types of forced labor against African Americans, internment of Japanese Americans, sexual violence against women, and brutal attacks/murder of American Indian, Asian American, Black/African American, Latino and more recently Middle Eastern and Muslim men.
We are outraged by the recent murders of boys and men of color due to racial antipathy. We are equally outraged with the failure of the United States justice system to punish these crimes. Unfortunately, examples of such crimes are plentiful. The Kollin Elderts murder trial was underway during the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association in Honolulu, Hawaii August 2013. Former federal agent Chrisopher Deedy killed the 23-year-old local Kailua man in November 2011. The defense attorney, Deedy, and some pundits in this case portrayed Elderts as the aggressor in order to justify Deedy’s use of deadly force. This portrayal relied in part on racial-gender stereotypes. Blaming the murdered victim is a tactic often used after these types of crimes. Racist caricatures and stereotypes were used to rationalize the shooting deaths of Trayvon Martin (killed by a neighborhood watchman in Sanford, Florida 2012), Oscar Grant (slain by a transit officer at the Fruitvale train station in Northern California 2009), José Antonio (murdered by an unnamed US border patrol in Nogales, Sonora 2012), and many others. Instead of justice for these victims, they were vilified and blamed for their own deaths. Family, friends, and community members were left to deal with the senseless loss of a loved one and to make meaning of the unpunished crime.
In this brief statement, we provide an analysis of the ways in which the intersection of race and gender play out in the racialized violence directed against men of color. Psychology and social science research inform our interpretation of the ways in which race and racism bear out in this violence, including the acts themselves, outcomes, and interventions. Specifically, we highlight the ways in which race(ism) still matters in US society, outline how racial stereotyping influences people’s beliefs and behaviors, and present information on the racial empathy gap as a way of contextualizing the un(der)punished racialized assaults on men of color. We then provide concrete actions psychologists and others can take to make a difference, including working locally to repeal “Stand Your Ground” legislation, facilitating racial dialogues in our communities, and developing and evaluating ethnocultural empathy interventions. We include a brief resource list for those interested in finding out more about these issues.
Race(ism) still matters! Despite the claims that we have entered a post-racial or color-blind America, race figures prominently in American life. The color-blind approach to race is problematic on many levels. Claims that race is not important and that we have moved beyond racism, the racial disparities in our society (in terms of income, education, health, etc.) to be are overlooked, or worse, cause people of color to be blamed for the disparities. Moreover, the framework is used to justify policies and practices that actually harm people of color and create race-based problems.
Stop-and-frisk policing and Stand Your Ground legislation are two examples of practices that reinforce racial inequalities and directly challenge the erroneous assertion that our justice system is color-blind. U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin recently ruled in the David Floyd v. City of New York case that the “stop-and-frisk” practices of the New York Police Department violated the constitutional rights of racial and ethnic minorities in the city. Judge Scheindlin referred to the practices as “indirect racial profiling,” which resulted in discriminatory stopping of Blacks and Latinos. The Stand Your Ground laws in practice - as opposed to the ways in which the laws are written - reinforce racial disparity as well. The Urban Institute recently issued a report analyzing homicides in states with and without Stand Your Ground laws. Findings indicate that the presence of Stand Your Ground laws worsen racial disparity, such that there is an even greater odds ratio of a “justified” homicide ruling for white-on-black homicides compared to other types of homicides including black-on-white homicides.
Thus, disproportionate jailing of persons of color results from a prejudicial system of punish-ment, rather than evidence-based rehabilitation that disenfranchises persons of color and creates the false impression that persons of color are likely to be criminals. Michelle Alexander has written extensively about this in her book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.
As social justice-oriented psychologists, we take a strong stance against any practice in which people of color are unfairly disadvantaged and/or any practice which results in racial disparity, including Stand Your Ground laws.
I just learned about this amazing website that is destigmatizing going to therapy, by having folks post pictures and stories about why they go (or have went) to therapy. As a therapist I am so excited to see this, especially from the clients perspective.
Tell the world you have a therapist. Let’s make it normal. By Charidy
Manic Depression + Anxiety Disorder + Body Dysmorphia + Weight/Body/Movement/Shame Issues = SOME DAYS YOU CANNOT TRUST YOUR BRAIN.
Sometimes the brain that sings to you and whispers good words in your ears and sends you sweet electric puckers is an asshole. Some days, you want to reach into the center of your mind and find the darkness your mother gave you - this manic wilderness that arrests your limbs and unhinges your reality - and rip that bleeding animal from your wet murky lobes. Some days, you just want to be able to look at your own reflection and not see her decay staring back at you.
You were given a strange and terrible gift; a box of old grief, a worry chest, a cracked mirror to see the world with. The person at the wheel of your mind is not always a friend. The thoughts you have about yourself will not always be kind. You will not always be able to love yourself the way you deserve to be loved.
Do not worry. You are not broken. The gift you’ve been given is truly a gift. This terrifying thing has taught you to recognize truth, to look into the mouth of fear and know, to call it out in a crowd and speak light into your flesh when its darkness is a lie.
Sweet body, you are truth. Your illness is not your ending.