Depression and looking towards the future
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10 Lessons For a Friend Going Through Depression

Last Thursday afternoon, my friend Olivia* called me from the ER because she wanted me to pick her up. She had taken a high dose of medicine. Yes, she wanted to end her life. Unfortunately, this was not the first time. She has a drinking problem and she is combatting a severe depression.

Last Thursday afternoon, my friend Olivia* called me from the ER because she wanted me to pick her up. She had taken a high dose of medicine. Yes, she wanted to end her life. Unfortunately, this was not the first time. She has a drinking problem and she is combatting a severe depression. 

She was waiting for me outside of the ER with her suitcase. She explained in the car that she couldn’t take it anymore. She asked to be re-admitted to the psychiatric unit, but the psychiatrist in charge refused. She had previously spent several weeks in that hospital, so they knew her file. The psychiatrist told the nurses that my friend Olivia* was using the hospital as a refuge. 

She was ready to get out of the car when I noticed some tears in her eyes. I decided to take her to my place. She waited for me patiently in the living room while I was finishing my teleworking day. 

Later, she contacted her medical doctor so he could write a prescription for a depression. We picked it up, and we went to a pharmacy to get the medicine that was supposed to relax her. I then drove to her place because she was feeling better. Later in the evening, I called her to ensure that everything was fine. I offered to pick her up so she could spend the night. She declined the offer. I told her that she could call me any time of the day or the night. 

On Saturday, I visited her. She was taking a nap. She had taken the medicine we had picked up at the pharmacy. Those pills made her feel groggy. It hurt me to see her that way. I asked her how her night was, and what she had done during the day. 

I tried to push her a little bit. She explained that she was suffering from depression for over 7 years. She could barely keep her eyes open. Her speech was unclear. I asked her how she saw the future. I told her that I was no expert, but I was helping her as an old friend. While sitting on the couch, I was looking at the pictures on the wall where she was posing with her family and friends. I could see the joy on her face. I told her that she could have it back. She needs to use those pictures as her vision board. Each time she would feel sad, lonely, or discouraged, she should take a look at those beautiful pictures. 

As a friend, I listened to her. I coached her even though I am not a specialist. These are my advice:

1. Use a Vision Board. It will remind you of your goals and dreams.

2. Take control of your life. Don’t give up.

You should prepare a planning with your short-term and long-term goals. You should follow a direction.

3. Think of something that gives you joy. Think of something that you like. Think of something fun. 

4. Confront your inner fears. 

You need to learn to cope with your frustrations. You should not fill up the emptiness inside of you with external things. We all want to escape our everyday life. You should find healthy ways to relax.

5. Connect with yourself. What do you want? What do you expect out of life?

You need to name your feelings at a particular moment.  

6. Take it as an opportunity to grow and reinvent yourself. 

You can achieve it. Prove to people that don’t believe in you that they are wrong. 

7. Enjoy nature. Take long walks in the forest or go to the beach.

8. Give to others. 

You should give some of your time and money. You need to help people. 

9. Leave some space for creativity. It will bring sense to your life. You should paint, garden, write, etc. 

10. Cultivate gratitude. 

Learn to say thank you. Connect to life. You should not take things for granted. 

Depression is sThis is a long journey to recovery. I wish her well.

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” —George Eliot

*name was changed to protect privacy

4 comments
  1. Courage à Olivia.
    Et tous les conseils me paraissent judicieux. Et Olivia a beaucoup de chance de pouvoir compter sur une amie.
    Cependant, c’est une lourde responsabilité et il me semble que l’aide d’une personne extérieure, qui ne fait pas partie de la vie sociale d’Olivia, pourrait être utile.
    Mon amie Agathe consulte un psychologue depuis qu’elle a sombré et elle reconnaît son utilité alors que l’idée même lui déplaisait au départ.

    1. Merci Ariane pour tes commentaires. Je suis d’accord, mon amie a aussi besoin d’une aide extérieure.

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