Depressed Friends, Motivational Speeches, and Dorky Hearts
(Warning: This is a LONG one)
Do you have any friends who have suffered with severe depression for years? I have several. I have gone through severe dark times myself. We have relied on each other a lot over the past years, and it has helped all of us. One of my friends was at a new low tonight. He's been struggling with college for years. Not because he isn't smart, but because he's too stressed and depressed to focus. His mother is severely mentally ill and is the source of most of his mental problems. He doubts himself at every turn. He lives to please, and it's killing him inside. It hurts me when he's like this. We've been friends for 6 years now, and we've helped each other through some really crappy times; whether we just need to vent, someone to talk to, a shoulder to cry on...we're there for each other. We live all the way across the country from each other, but we still talk daily.
A little while ago, he was telling me that he wished he could go back in time and change so many things. That he was so very unhappy and that he just wants to go back and do things differently...but the world doesn't work like that. I know it's silly, but I heard this on Scrubs and I totally agree with it: "Time spent wishing is time wasted".
Normally, this is the point in the conversation where he makes a funny remark in an attempt to cheer himself up, but he just wasn't in the mood for it, and he asked for my opinion...
I'm...not very good at making big showy speeches. I'm more of a listener than a talker, but I usually manage to do the job. Though tonight I was so not up for it...after thunderstorms, tornado warnings and sightings, and the general loneliness that is my life right now, I couldn't think of any flashy words to cheer him up. So I dug down into my dorky heart and gave it my best shot:
"There are plenty of things I wish I could change...but that might, and probably would, change my life as it is now. Is my life perfect? Not even close. But would I risk losing Nina or Trevor just to change the way I acted in school? No.
I wish my parents hadnt been forced into a marriage neither of them wanted. I wish my mom hadnt had to work my entire childhood to the point that it almost felt like we had no mom. I wish Trevor's dad hadn't of died. I wish I hadnt tried to kill myself. I wish I had kept playing softball. I wish I had cared enough to get better grades. I wish I had followed through with my plan to save for a car and get my own place after high school. I wish I had gotten pregnant -with nina- at a more opportune time. I wish we hadn't had to choose the military to support ourselves. I wish we hadn't gotten Norfolk as our base.
I wish, I wish, I was a fish.
My point is, everything you've done, even if it's been a mistake or you wish you could have done it better, it's done and gone. It's made you who you are, and I know you're depressed, I know life is dumping its entire load onto your shoulders right now, but you're a great person because of all of it. Could your life be better? Probably. But we're human. Yes, even you. You have friends who love and support you. The only way to make your life better now, is to learn from your past mistakes. Sure, some new choice might end up with the same old result, but you'll learn that ok, that way doesn't work. Time to try something new. Tisha cares about you. Ying Ying cares about you, even though she had to go back home. Your dad cares about you. I care about you. I'm sure you have other friends I don't know about who care about you. Soak up our support and do what you can, or what you feel is best or comfortable or whatever.
....I really do suck at moral support."
And the amazing part was, it worked. He felt better. He cheered up immensely and it was awesome. We then proceeded to make fun of the fact that my heart is such a dork that when I try to make a "from the heart" speech, it comes out incredibly cheesy sounding, but we've known for years just how lame I am.
I can imagine if his mother is unmedicated and mentally ill that is has caused an ongoing feeling of not having a "safe place" so to speak. When you don't have that then you are constantly anxious, which it sounds like he is. He either can't or hasn't found his "calm" so to speak. He will probably only find that by working through those issues. It's wonderful he has you to help.