The other day I covered 10 things you should not say to a loved one if you don’t want your name to come up in her therapy sessions. It covered a lot of ground, so I get why some folks would say, “Then what the hell CAN I say?” I’ve been thinking about that, and here’s my list. Some of them may require a personality adjustment, so just skip those.
1. Can I relieve your stress in any way?
One thing all writing manuals say is SHOW don’t TELL. Words aren’t all that helpful to a person struggling with depression. Because let me speak from experience… almost everything she hears will somehow be twisted to sound like an insult. Every suggestion — St. John’s Wort? Organic apples? Yoga?–are going to come off as: You are doing something terribly wrong and this is all your fault.
SO what I found most comforting when I couldn’t pull myself up by my bootstraps is when a friend came over and fixed me lunch, or when someone offered to tidy up my place. I realize that sounds a tad pampered and self-indulgent, but we wouldn’t think twice about doing it for someone who is going through chemo. Why not go there for a person battling a serious mood disorder?
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