I’m not sure but I might have read every article written about Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade after their deaths last week. I am struck by the common threads of depression – that dark tunnel of paralysis and the voices in our heads when the tunnel is darkest:
You are incompetent. You are disgusting. You cannot be trusted. You don’t belong here. You need to go away. You are the problem. You disappoint me.
Like Kate Bowler’s helpful appendices at the end of Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved we need tips on what to do when you love someone with depression and what not to do when you love someone with depression. Here’s a starter list:
- Do ask if the person is having suicidal thoughts.
- Do stick around and be present.
- Do tell them they are important to you.
- Do say that you are sorry they are in so much pain.
- Don’t tell someone to “cheer up” or “think positive.” This is not about “happiness.”
- Don’t “at least” someone as in “at least you are married” or “at least you’ don’t have cancer.“
- Don’t tell someone that depression is a sin (for the love of God.)
- Don’t suggest vitamins, hot tea, or a trip to Vegas.
I wrote about the voices in our heads in 2017 here. Those voices continue to whisper in our ears, but there is another Voice that can override them. A person can recover from depression and – whether you believe in God or not – I believe God has something to do with this.
Image of Anthony Bourdain in Brazil.