Often we feel helpless in the face of someone’s depression.  We don’t know to do or what we can do.  Many times people are well meaning but make things worse by trying to “help” the person look on the bright side, which invalidates their feelings and can just make them feel worse.  Being told it’s a disease, having judgements placed on them about their behavior, having their feelings dismissed as a moment in time that will pass…all of it can add to the problem heaping on more depression, possibly making the hole deeper, making things bleaker until all light and hope is gone.

From my experience with clients and with my own depression, what helps the most is elegant in its simplicity.  It’s not a cure, but it is a lifeline.  Listen – Acknowledge – Validate  Your presence is what is really required even if it can be tolerated only for a small amount of time.  Being seen and being heard can make all the difference.  If someone you know is suffering from depression and you care about them, let them know by sharing what is most precious, you.

My heart goes out to the Williams family in this devastating time of loss.  Robin Williams meant a great many things to so many.  Not only will he be missed, but he will be remembered.