The Top 3 Ways I’ve Been Supported
By Gordon Corsetti, Skyland Trail adult programs graduate
It’s shocking what a text message or an email can do for my mood. Since I told my friend group a month ago about the resurgence of my depression, the amount of unexpected well-wishes has truly blown me away. Some came from friends of mine that I made at Skyland Trail while I was completing the DBT program there. Others were friends since before college that wanted to send me a positive word. I cannot repeat enough that these brief moments of humanity do wonders for my emotions.
The easiest thing someone can do to help a friend going through a mental health crisis is to spend a few minutes writing kind words. It takes almost no effort, but the effects can be gargantuan. I still have letters that my friends have written me over the years and they are a wonderful testament to the quality of their friendship, but also serve to remind me that I am loveable even when my mind is telling me I’m the worst human on the planet.
The next best thing is taking me out for a walk. When I’m depressed I don’t want to do anything so this could be a tall order, but my family and friends have managed to at least get me outside for a few minutes on even my blackest days. Those brief ventures give my mind something new to look at and give me a small sense of having accomplished something. It’s not a lot, but when we’re steering someone out of depression, we’ll take every little win we can get.
Finally, I recommend an activity where the individual doesn’t have to do much to participate. Going to the movies is a perfect outing because there is a low barrier to entry, very little social interaction necessary, and loads of opportunities to ask the individual what they think. Just try to pick a movie that is slightly upbeat. A superhero flick works great. Avoid the heavy period dramas!
Really, it all boils down to time. Take time for the person you’re worried about. Whether that is writing, walking, or just sitting, by taking the time you tell that person you care. Your actions show, unequivocally, that they are valued. It becomes much more difficult to believe the depression, or the anxiety, or the bipolar disorder when members of a support team rally around their person.
So if you’re worried about a friend, and even if you’re not, send out a couple of messages now that you’re finished with this article. Reach out into that great big web of humanity and remind a few people that you’re thinking of them.
This post was penned by Gordon Corsetti. Gordon, a Skyland Trail graduate, is an author, public speaker, and advocate for suicide prevention and mental health awareness; writing regularly on his website mentallyagile.com. He collected various tools in the pursuit of his permanent recovery from depression and anxiety. Gordon writes about philosophy and different modes of thought that he experiments with to refine his perspective on life. He speaks to the uniquely human ability to change our minds and shows how to use tools to accomplish that change.