I have a good friend named Sharon who suffers from depression. I will gladly admit that I don’t understand it, because I’ve never suffered from anything worse than the occasional blues.
The thing I’m having a hard time dealing with, though, is that I believe that Sharon’s attitude and behavior directly affect the severity of her depression. I know you can’t chose to be not depressed, but I do believe that the choices you make – focusing on the negative, obsessing over your circumstance, etc. – can affect how depressed you are. Sharon has a great life. She has a terrific S.O. of six years who adores her, a beautiful house, and the world’s best dog. She had a fantastic job where they loved her lots, but she just quit that because she couldn’t deal with it or something.
Her life is one that people envy, and yet it’s not good enough for her. Her aunt passed away a few months ago, and I know that was tough for her, but it wasn’t like they were incredibly close. Other people I know have gone through so much worse than she has, and I confess that I don’t understand why she’s having such a tough time. To be truthful, sometimes it seems like her depression is a convenient excuse that she uses for being completely self-absorbed, to the point where it’s affecting everyone else around her, and I’m really sick of it and I don’t know if I can continue to be friends with her.
But the minute I think that, I also feel guilty for not being a supportive friend. I feel so out of my depths here because I don’t have any first-hand experience with depression. Is there a line between being genuinely depressed and clinging to your depression like a safety blanket, being a victim in every situation? How much is the non-depressed friend supposed to put up with? When do you call the depressed person on their B.S.? Do you call them on it at all? If you’ve dealt with a situaion like this, have you ever just cut your ties and called it a day, or did you stick it out? Do you regret your decision?