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Depressed? Why All Advice is Meaningful

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things on the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

– Mr. Rogers

What a tense world we live in! And for good reason. I have seen a lot of memes, posts and comics on social media lately shutting down the helpers. We live in such a stressful climate lately. Climate change is rapidly increasing, violence is prominent and anxiety and mental health issues are at an all-time high.

And I get it.

I do.

But what we need now is debate and conversation, not people bullying each other online. Instead of “That’s stupid”, let’s say, “Why do you suggest that? Why do you feel that way?” Obviously, we are in a time of change. Let other ideas in and discuss them.

I used to shut down suggestions for my mental health. Instead of viewing people with the wrong advice as helpers, I saw them as toxic people trying to stop me from getting better. I was in a dark place and could only see darkness.

Yes, the advice may have been misguided and seemed insensitive, but it was well-meaning and came from a good place. The fact the person listened and was there for me, wanting to grasp for any solution, should have been enough for me.

I made a note to self a long time ago and I want to share it with you here:

Remember- don’t say F.U. To people who are only trying to help. Be open to advice that, at first, sounds “wrong”. Although they may not realize what you’re going through, and might not have a background in your illness/mental illness, their cliches are a way of trying to help. Yes, it may come across as insensitive or even callous, sometimes, but 90% of the time they don’t mean it that way. Even though “getting a fish for company” won’t help your depression, it was their hopeful way of trying to find a solution. Caring for you so much that they would suggest such a ridiculous thing as a “cure” is amazing: also hilarious, cute, and heartwarming. Be grateful they listened. They are not a therapist and cliches, offhand suggestions, or even asking the same question repeatedly shows their love for you. Thank them, educate them gently (if they seem open to it), and tell them you’re grateful….but don’t turn your back on that kind of love.

Let’s live gently and kindly. Look for the helpers.

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