What NOT To Tell a Friend Who’s Struggling With Depression 

My last post was somber. I will continue with this theme and do a part two.I have avoided writing mental health topics because to me it is very personal and very real. The past several weeks I’ve delt with some nasty stereotypes about mental health. I think I’m going to start writing about it more. This post will be what not say when you have a friend struggling with depression.  I will tell you this from my personal experiences of life!

Life is not easy. No, not at all. My readers often say that I’m wise, I don’t know about that. All I’ve done is strived to take what life throws at me and learn from it. To continue on with my post about mental health, I have decided to write about what not to say to a friend who is highly depressed or suicidal. Here’s a short list with some responses.

“Just be happy!” ~ If I could control it, trust me, I would be happy

“Go exercise.” ~ Umm, okay? Now I feel even worse about my body. I understand why someone would say this, BUT you must be careful how you say this!

“You have a faith problem.” ~ Although you can grow closer to Him in the hard times, please don’t ever say this to a Christian who’s struggling with this. It makes the struggle seem downplayed and that it is only a faith problem when depression is a medical problem.

“Get over it.” ~ Trust me, it’s almost impossible to just “brush off” true depression. It plays into every part of one’s life from getting the will power to get out of bed to see relationships with others. 

“It’s all in your head! You have the power to be happy, if you want to be.” ~ Well, if you want help you have to be the one who seeks treatment and use the treatment resourcefully. I have wasted so many hours trying to find healing when I didn’t necessarily want it. My parents were the ones who made me seek treatment for a long matter of time before I decided that I didn’t want to be depressed. But you can’t say that it’s “all in your head” because true depression is mentally and physically draining! If you were a close friend, you can probably tell if your friend is constantly sad, even if they are trying to cover it up. I once had a friend say to me, “You say that you are fine but your eyes say another story.” I’m not saying that you can always tell, or that you’re a bad friend if you can’t pick it up. Some people are great actors and, unfortunately, it seems that many people are acting these days. 

“Get over it.” ~ It’s an illness. It’s not something that you can just experience immediate healing. 

I could write a book about phrases not to say. I think that friends are scared and don’t really know what to say. I think that the phrases mentioned above are typically spoken with good intentions but the person saying it doesn’t understand how dark depression is. I have some helpful words for you. 

“Stay strong.”

“I’m here for you, not just in the good times.”

“How can I pray for you?

“Do you need to talk or vent to me?”

“I promise l won’t judge you.”

“Do you need a hug.”

“How are you doing today?”

“Don’t be afraid to call just to talk.”

And finally, “I love you !”

In conclusion, remember that mental health is a sensitive topic. Please be so so sensitive to your friends who are struggling. I love you all!

Suicide Isn’t Funny 

Hello readers! First of all, I apologize for not posting! My life has been stressful trying to figure out what my next chapter of life will be. I haven’t really had the energy to write! Well I’ll write drafts then by the time I should be in my concluding paragraph I will frankly forget where I going with post. 

A few weeks ago I started watching a new series on Television. I’m not going to say the name of the show, I’ll be the first to say that it was not wholesome. I should not have been watching it. I was though and the content hilarious. At the beginning of the series, the topic of mental health. It was put together in such a way that it was making fun of mental illness- suicidal actions to be exact. I have to admit. I was laughing but I felt guilty about it. I never laugh about suicide!!! Something about the way that it was presented made it look “Funny.”

This was weeks ago and I still feel guilty. I actually re-watched it a few times. Those times I was specifically watching for the ways that the writers of the show made mental illness look humorous. Each time watching it, I became more displeased and disgusted. 

I am a caring person and so naturally mental health is important to me. I probably care more about my friends mental health then physical health. I love to give hugs and ask, “How’s life?” If something is wrong, I don’t want to leave them until I know that they are feeling at least sort of okay. Most of the time a little therapy session over coffee does the trick. A Starbucks drunk and saying, “Everything will be okay” works nine times out of ten. 

Sometimes everything won’t be okay though.

 Sometimes it comes out over coffee that they don’t want to continue fighting. 

Sometimes the thought of waking up one more morning is just to unbearable. 

Sometimes I have to beg them to keep going. 

Sometimes the only thing I can do is hold them.

Those conversations are the hardest of all to have. I have personally been on both sides of the conversation, both are uncomfortable. I have tried to share hope when I didn’t believe the words that were coming out of my mouth. The only “bad” part about being a caring person- sometimes they tell you the truth and sometimes the truth isn’t easy to hear. 

Thoughts about harming yourself are serious. They are not something to joke about or merely brush off. I have been way to close to saying goodbye to others because of suicide. It’s not a topic to take light heartedly. If we are having coffee and you say something alluding to death, I will question you about what context you ment it. 

When jokes are made about suicide you are not thinking about the victims. I don’t mean just the person who couldn’t bear living anymore. I mean their parents who will never see their child again. The best friend who will never be able to call them on the phone again. The sibling who will never be able eat a family dinner with them. The pet who wonders why their owner never came home one evening. Those are the victims of suicide. You are taking the victims pain and turning your head the other direction, and you are ignorant of the value that life has. 

Suicide is not funny. It is serous. If you are feeling suicidal please take to heart what I have to say. 

No matter how much pain you have gone through you can be healed. No matter what you have done or someone has done to you, you can heal. You can forgive yourself. It may take alot of time but you can forgive those who hurt you. There’s nothing wrong with you. You are not ‘crazy.’  You will get through this. I love you and more importantly the Savior will welcome you with open arms. I made it through, so can you. 

“In the end, everything will be okay.”

The Planning Of Not Planning

Hello readers! I hope that you are having a wonderful week! My week has been eventful to say the least.

Yesterday I modeled with 4H for the ICT Sewing Guild. I’ve done this before. It’s a fun little event to do and takes a grand total of 45 seconds to do the modeling. This year was a tad different though. My outfit had a pair of four inch heals. I was terrified about falling; to the point that I was having nightmares for several days about tripping. I was so stressed that by the time I was actually performing I hadn’t thought out what I was to do on the ‘runway’ until I was actually walking up it. I turned in a circle and when my back was facing the audience I thought, “Okay, I got this far, now what am I going to do?”

Long story short, I made it through the event without tripping although I sure felt akward. After my modeling I went to Starbucks with my mom. I didn’t change my dress or my shoes. Then I went to Whole Foods  (❤). Surprisingly I didn’t receive any funny looks (I was wearing a prom dress too!). In that situation I felt comfortable. I stood out, for sure, but that didn’t bother me. I was confident.

Later in the day I wasn’t having as much fun. I went to enroll for class and the school I was hoping to attend cut the program I was interested in. This was the only school nearby that offered this certification. It’s the first week of August and I have no idea what I’m going to do this fall. Most schools start in a few weeks and I have to figure something out, quick. My day that was going great became stressful.

If there’s something that God has taught me this summer is planning doesn’t always work. My entire senior year I kept changing me plans for after high school. With a few weeks left of school I finally thought I had  my plans for the summer and for the fall. I remember my mom saying to me, “I’m proud of you. You have things planned out.” I moved to a different location for a summer job that I had gotten but had not yet started. I wasn’t there too long before moving back home because of some circumstances. I’ve spent my summer babysitting and house sitting instead. God has continued to be great though. He has blessed me with a consistent number of jobs through the summer. Now that I am not going to go to school right away I am having a hard time trusting Him. I know that He has made a perfect plan for me. I just want to know what it is. What I’m suppose to be doing this time period, and really what I’m suppose to do with my life. As a new high school graduate there’s so much pressure to have life “completely” planned out. But life changes all the time.

I can’t help but think about Passover – Deyanu – “It would have been enough.” 

If hadn’t had the privilege of going to a private Christian school ~ Deyanu! If I didn’t even have the option of continuing education ~ Deyanu! If I hadn’t been born in a wealthy country ~ Deyanu! If God didn’t give me a synagogue to go to and be encouraged and I had to go to a Sunday church ~ Deyanu! 

My list could go on for hours. I told you about my akward modeling experience for a reason.

1) I was so scared of falling that I couldn’t enjoy the moment ~ I need to focus on rising instead!

2) I didn’t have a plan but I made it through and did fine. The only difference now is I didn’t have a plan for walking around a room. This is life.

3) It’s okay to ask, “Okay I got this far, now what?” But finish your three point turn and keep walking afterwards

4) Embrace your overly dressed up outfit. Be different and be confident.

I am Lama-Leah, class of 2016 and I don’t know what I’m going to do this fall but I can’t stress because being stressed won’t do a thing. Please keep me in your prayers as I try to figure out this thing called life! God is good and He’s never failed me yet.