Experiencing abuse and depression are very much from the same ‘family’ of misery if you like. They share so many characteristics that sometimes it’s impractical to make any distinction between them. The effects are the same, at least they are in my experience.
What it does do is magnify them a hundredfold however. Self loathing, isolation, loneliness, worrying you’re a burden, feeling unlovable, believing everyone would be better off without you around, believing you are broken and incapable of being fixed, fear (of being alone, yet also of trusting anyone), fear of being hurt, punishing yourself for your failures. I could go on.
On a daily basis I’d say I probably experience most of these thoughts at some stage. I’m getting better at not giving them air time, but as its a soundtrack I’ve lived with for 40 years, it’s not easy to give space to more positive thoughts.
Which is what brings me to the things that help. If you know someone experiencing depression the chances are, they’re familiar with many of my thoughts to. What helps me, might help them.
Reminders, whether through text, email, a Tweet, anything really that says-‘you’re loved’, ‘you’re not alone’.
Being listened to and not judged.
Offers of help. Cooking, shopping, taking the kids out. They’re not always needed, but please don’t stop offering because one day they might be.
Reassurance that you’re doing OK. I can never hear that enough.
And love, from whoever is able to give it. Unconditionally, without caveats. Love. Not perfection, just love.