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Blog

Filtering by Tag: depression

Things you can do for someone feeling sad.

Sophie Lombardi

The best thing we can do to mark World Mental Health Day is to look after each other even more carefully. It's not easy to know what to say or do for someone who is experiencing a mental shit storm, but staying schtum and keeping our distance can leave folk feeling more isolated and crazy. After my second child I had crippling depression, anxiety and a stint at a MBU (Mother Baby Unit). Obviously, everyone is different but here are some suggestions to help you support someone who needs a friend.

Just be there

You don't need to offer up advice or conspicuously try and cheer your pal up  Pointing out all the jolly marvellous things in their lives may well make them feel even worse as sufferers of depression frequently feel guilty or inadequate for not being able to 'see' the good stuff. Instead try and accept that this is shit for your friend. Look them in the eye, tell them that you are there for them and that you will get through this together. 

Good Food

There is nothing wrong with polishing off packets of biscuits and drinking all the wine, however good nutrition is an important part of recovery. I used to forget to eat ( very hard to believe these days).  Bringing over good home cooked food or going out for a meal will help your friend feel better. Comfort food is comforting.  

Get out

I am not suggesting that you plan a schedule of activities in the manner of Heidi Hi.  However follow your friends lead, if she suggests going to the park, go. Other activities you may like to suggest include a feel good movie, a cuppa in a nice cafe or a rummage in a cool shop. Your friend may feel anxious about crowds or groups of people, therefore gentle activities that ease isolation are best. 

Do nice things

A mental health nurse once told me that one way of reversing the cycle of depression is simply to do nice things.  Therefore it may be helpful if you could do some of the boring chores that will enable your friend to do things that she/ he enjoyed before they felt so bad. Offer to take out the bins, do some laundry or tidy up. Jobs can seem very overwhelming to someone feeling unwell. 

Nature and Exercise

Both of the above have been known to ease depression and anxiety but it can be difficult to get motivated and easier to stay home and feel sad. Breathe some fresh air together and suggest a walk or bike ride. Being outside and around nature can be very calming to a shouty mind. 

Check In

You don't have to commit hours of time to supporting your friend. Short regular bursts of contact will make them feel supported and loved. Remember that you aren't their doctor or counsellor and point them in the right direction for professional help.

It's all gone a bit Dr. Phil here but mental health illnesses are horrible, stigmatising and debilitating.  It's amazing how a small kind gesture can make a difference and I really feel that little cups of tea and outings with my girl gang helped me to recover.

I had better sign off now before I get too cheesy and start quoting the lyrics to Heal the World. 

Love

Sophie xox

Poppy and Honesty are proud to be partners with Lobella Loves, a beautifully curated website that makes a donation to maternal mental health charities with every purchase made. Head on over to their pretty pages. 

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When you're not feeling the sparkles

Sophie Lombardi

There's nothing quite like forced joviality to make you feel more rubbish if you are feeling really low. A number of years ago, I had crippling Post Natal Depression at Christmas. On receipt of a lovely, well wishing text suggesting that we would be having a wonderfully snuggly time with our gorgeous new babe, I smashed my phone against the wall (terribly counter productive, resulting in hours swearing in The Apple shop with a crying baby). The fact is, shit doesn't stop happening just because its Christmas. For plenty of people out there, it will be a challenging test of endurance rather than rocking around the Christmas tree wearing a paper hat at a jaunty angle. So, for those of you feeling really rubbish, this blog is for you.

If you haven't read 'Reasons To Stay Alive' by Matt Haig, please do. In fact, give it to everyone you know. It's a book about depression which isn't depressing, nor is it preachy or insistent that you follow some kind of radical regime that involves weird things like stuffing coffee enemas up your bum and refusing conventional treatment. Matt nails the experience with his deeply moving personal account of his battle with acute depression and anxiety. With the support of his great girlfriend and family, Matt finds his way through and learns to accept and even find meaning from his debilitating illness. His account is absolutely spot on. If you have ever struggled with your mental health, reading his book will be like listening to lyrics in your 'break up' soundtrack, his words feel so true. I particularly liked this passage: 

"If you have ever believed a depressive wants to be happy, you are wrong. They could not care less about the luxury of happiness. They just want to feel an absence of pain. To escape a mind on fire, where thoughts blaze and smoke like old possessions lost to arson. To be normal."

Matt tells us about his most frightening experiences, but doesn't dwell on them; instead he gives hope to the situation and reveals that depression has given him greater empathy and an ability to feel more in the world. The book isn't about well-being buzz words and Matt doesn't refer to a 'journey' unless he is actually going somewhere. If you're wondering whether or not this book is for you, it probably is. Whether you suffer mental from health issues, know someone going through this stuff or even if you just want to know more about the experience of being human and being alive, go and grab a copy.

If anyone reading this is going through a horrible time, I understand (and so does Matt). Christmas will be tough, but they'll be another one next year. I promise you that you will feel the sparkles again and they will be brighter and more sparkly than before. I  always think that the best experiences and moments in life are the ones that aren't scheduled. Lurid jumpers, awful shouty songs about how it should be christmas every bloody day and getting crushed in the shops can all be appreciated another time. 

 

Sophie xoxox

PS. All Matt Haig's books are total winners. I can highly recommend them all.

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