S1:E20 | What Do I Do If Someone I Love Is Depressed?
Have you or someone you know ever been extremely negative and/or depressed? Have you ever felt confused about what to say or how to act when you or someone you know can’t seem to get out of a funk? In today’s episode of the “Destiny Malibu Podcast,” Destiny Malibu and DJ Dezzee discuss exactly what to do in this situation. This is a beautiful episode that can encourage self-reflection, improved relationships, and a better understanding of one another. Welcome to the angel squad community!
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What Do I Do If Someone I Love Is Depressed?
What is going on, everybody? It’s Destiny Malibu and my co-host DJ Dezzee. We are live from the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. We are so excited to be back on property in Las Vegas at the Virgin Hotels and doing this live on location. It is so much fun.
It’s a blast. We get to see people walking by and we have a good time here.
If you are new to our show, this is a mental health–focused show where we talk about everything self-development and mental health. We’re a community of people who want to grow and have a growth mindset. Every single day, we want to get better. That’s why we’re here. On our topic, we are going to be addressing a question from a fan, which is exciting.
If you have any questions like this, you can go to AskDestinyMalibu.com and submit your little voice recording memo, and we can address your questions in one of our future episodes.
We’re not going to say the name of who it’s from. We’re going to keep things anonymous, so you guys don’t have to worry about us playing your question on the show or your name. We’ll keep it anonymous unless you specifically state it’s okay. Basically, this person asked, “How do I deal with friends if they are being extremely negative or negative toward you? Do you keep being their friend or do you start creating distance between yourself and them? What do you do in that situation?”
This is a very touchy question because I feel like this relates to the story of every person who struggles with mental health. A lot of people who struggle with mental health often feel like they’re a burden. That can often make the condition way worse. As a friend, how can you be there for someone while simultaneously, not letting what they’re going through also bring you down? How do you find that balance?A lot of people who struggle with mental health often feel like they're a burden. That can often make the condition way worse. Click To Tweet
In previous episodes, we talked about empathy and sympathy.
Empathy, sympathy, compassion, and relating to people. I’m glad you brought that up. We talked about in another episode the importance of empathy versus sympathy. Empathy is allowing yourself to feel what the other person is feeling. Sympathy is basically not allowing yourself to feel the emotion, but feeling sorry for someone.
In the case of someone who has emotionally drained themselves, you can’t put someone else’s life vest on before you put yours on. If you’re running on empty or your oxygen tank is low, and you are trying to help someone else first, what’s going to happen to you? You’re not going to make it if you’re on empty. I think in the situation of somebody who is emotionally maxed out and you’re a very naturally empathetic person, you don’t want to drain yourself to the point of zero.
I struggle with that too. I am a very empathetic person and if I allowed myself that, I can get drained easily. Sometimes I have a hard time putting a limit on where I can listen to other people’s problems as well as my own. Sometimes we can think that we’re invincible and we can listen to as many people’s problems as possible and still be okay.
I think it’s important to be real with yourself and understand like this person who asked this question. If you are feeling drained and you’re feeling like, “I don’t emotionally have the space to deal with myself and be there for you during this hard time,” it’s a dance because you want to be there for your friend, but you also don’t want to neglect yourself. It’s a dance of finding the balance of being there for your friend while also staying true to yourself and understanding what your own limits are.
It’s super important to know your limits because you need to know your limits and realize that you can set those boundaries for yourself and for your friend in a kind way. Something that I like to tell myself, which is helpful in these kinds of stressful situations, is to deal with it with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.
When you use those words and when you’re trying to work through a problem with someone, doing it out of love and being patient with the other person is so important, especially if you care about this person. They’re a best friend or a family member. If you’re not able to handle the issue on your own anymore or you’re maxed out, have a heart-to-heart and be like, “I need to tell you something that is affecting me.”
I know for me, when I was working, I was having to deal with all these little problems all the time. My boyfriend at the time, at the end of every day, I would vent to him for 10 to 15 minutes, probably for about two weeks every day. Finally, he’s like. “I’m sorry you had a bad day, but I don’t want to hear about it anymore.” It feels harsh but he was doing it because it wasn’t something that he wanted to deal with, which is okay because I was doing it every day.
I was over-complaining. Realizing that I was over-complaining, I dialed it back. It was a lot of self-reflection. As a friend, when you go to someone, they may be a little hurt and they may react. You have to be ready to accept that because your friend is going to be hurt. I was thrown off guard because he was my boyfriend. I’m like, “It’s only 10 or 15 minutes. Why? I’m de-stressing. Why can’t I say this?”
A lot of us that go to work sometimes need to de-stress at the end of the day. Not all the time is it work-related. Sometimes there are other issues that people are dealing with on a regular basis where they need to talk to somebody. When you use one person all the time to complain to, then they’re going to start viewing you as a complainer. As the friend who’s complaining, me being that one in that situation, I learned. I was like, “Because I love my boyfriend, I’m going to dial back my complaining a little bit and find other ways to decompress at the end of my day.”
There was a time in my life when I was struggling with my mental health, and it’s not a linear thing. There are some days or weeks where it’s tough, and then some weeks where I’m feeling on top of the moon and feeling great. There was a time in my life when I knew that I was in a very negative mind space. I was seeing through a lens of negativity.Struggling with my mental health is not a linear thing. Some days or weeks, it's tough, and then some weeks you feel on top of the moon. Click To Tweet
There was a time in my life when I was really depressed when I felt that way. I did feel guilty and a burden because when I was around people, I knew I wasn’t adding to the room. I was not in a great mood. I had a tendency in the past to self-isolate because I didn’t want to bring other people down, which is also dangerous for somebody struggling with their health. You think isolation is going to help, but a lot of times it makes things worse.
My suggestion for this delicate situation is communication and setting boundaries. If you are the person who knows and if you’re able to self-reflect and be like, “I have been seeing negative things lately,” maybe take a moment to reflect and ask yourself, “Should I see a therapist?” That is literally what a therapist is for. To listen to you, and then to also help you reframe to a more positive lens. If you’re that person like I was at one point, “Do I need to see a therapist or one that really helps me?” I realized a while ago that not everybody does have the emotional capacity to listen to what is stressing me out.
What is a great alternative? Journaling is an amazing free alternative. It’s more fun in some sense to talk to a real human but at the same time, when you get into journaling, you can say absolutely anything you want and just get it all out there. Sometimes that is such a relieving feeling. It’s just you and a piece of paper, or you and the notes app on your phone.
You don’t have to feel bad about hurting anyone’s feelings.
You just let it all out. That can also be a good way to relieve that stress. If you’re the person on the other end or somebody who is dealing with somebody who is struggling in that negative mind space, my suggestion would be to express to them in a very gentle way, “I love you so much, but I personally am also emotionally taxed right now. I can only take on so many additional emotions. I want to be there for you as your friend and be a shoulder to lean on. Would you be okay and comfortable that if there’s something negative you want to talk about, can we set a time limit on how long we talk about that?”
“You can vent to me and say whatever you want for 10 or 15 minutes, and because you also love me as much as I love you as a friend, then for the rest of the day, we’d focus on trying to cheer each other up. We focus on trying to look through a positive lens to the best of our ability.” You’re setting a boundary as a friend.
Depending on how this person reacts, that’s out of your control, but you are being true to yourself in saying, “I love you. I want to be there for you.” I feel some people might take that the wrong way if you suggest therapy, so maybe just send them this video. If you’re like, “Maybe you need to see a therapist,” that might make someone mad, but it’s not a negative thing.
Therapy is a beautiful thing. It helped me so much. I know it would help so many other people. It’s finding that balance of being able to communicate and set your boundaries of what you are comfortable with, and what the other person is comfortable with, and finding a happy medium. If you’re the person who’s venting, you’re realizing, “This is negatively affecting the people I love. How can I change how I’m handling the stress in my life?”
You then turn to a therapist or journaling. That can be life-changing. It can improve not only your life but the lives of people around you too. If you’re on the other end where you are the person listening, you are still being a good friend by listening, but now you’re just saying, “As a boundary for myself, can we put a time limit on this? I also can’t help you if I end up down as well.”
Birds of the same feather flock together.
You have to put your life vest on first before you put someone else’s on. It’s the first thing they tell you when you’re on an airplane. The flight attendants always tell you to put your life vest on first before you start helping people because you can’t help people if you don’t make it. Everything in life is a dance and balance. You can’t get anywhere in life if you don’t communicate.
You want to be there for people, but also you need to be there for yourself. Make sure you’re acknowledging both sides of the coin and finding that balance. That would be my suggestion on that. If the person is a true friend, I think that they’ll understand and they’ll be like, “I get this. I don’t want to make you sad,” and vice versa if the other person is a true friend.You want to be there for people, but also you need to be there for yourself. Click To Tweet
I also want to add to this that there are extremes like if you have a friend who’s not even willing to listen for ten minutes. Anytime you’re bringing anything up, they’re like, “No, don’t talk about anything negative.” That’s a little bit toxic because friendship should have some give and take. On the other way around, if the other person is always talking about negativity, that can also be toxic for the other friend.
Be mindful of each other and how our energy affects each other. To the best of your ability, try to always elevate the vibration in a room. If you’re at a point where you can’t elevate the vibration in a room, then it’s a good option to look into getting some therapy. Therapists can help you in a professional way to figure out what is that block in your life that’s stopping you from being in that mental space.
If you have any follow-up questions to this question that we answered, please go to AskDestinyMalibu.com and we will be happy to continue answering your questions. Any new questions, go to AskDestinyMalibu.com.
If you don’t know the mantra, you’re about to hear it. If you do know it, say it with us. This is the Destiny Malibu show mantra. We like to end every episode with it. If you hate me, I love you. If you love me, I love you even more. You are not alone. We are in this together. We love you guys so much, and we’ll see you in the next episode.