She was too depressed to do the simplest chore. Then her friends showed up in a big way.

People who don’t struggle with depression can sometimes feel at a loss for how to help loved ones who do.

If you’ve never fallen into a mental hole you couldn't climb out of, it’s hard to understand how depression can be so debilitating. And when you're peering down at a loved one at the bottom of that hole, it’s hard to know how to help them out.

You can try to coach them on how to climb, but you don't understand how slippery the walls are. You can try to offer them a rope, but you don't realize that their muscles are too spent to grab it and hold on.


How do you help someone who is stuck?

While there are no universal right answers, this story demonstrates just one powerful way these friends showed up for their struggling pal.

Sheila O’Malley spiraled into a deep depression the year her dad died. She had moved into a new apartment but found herself unable to unpack for months. She felt ashamed at her inability to do something so straightforward, but depression does that — it makes basic things feel insurmountable, then makes you feel bad about not surmounting them.

O'Malley shared on Twitter that her friend David checked in with her and offered words of support. But he knew she needed more than that. So he did something bold.

He contacted a bunch of O'Malley's friends and organized an unpacking party — unbeknownst to her.

Ten friends showed up, food in hand, and ignored her protesting that her apartment wasn't ready for visitors.

"They unpacked my boxes. They put away my 1,500 books. They hung pictures for me ... By the end of the night, my apartment was all set up," O'Malley wrote.

Sometimes showing up for a friend means simply doing what needs to be done without fuss or fanfare.

O'Malley explained that she had been unable to do even the simplest things. But her friends didn't judge. "They were like superheroes sweeping in," she said. They showed up ready to do what needed to be done. And they didn't let her get in the way of that important work.

"I was overwhelmed at the sight of all of my friends turning themselves into Santa's workshop," O'Malley wrote. "On my behalf. With out asking me. They just showed up and barged in. I was embarrassed for like 10 minutes but they were all so practical and bossy I had no choice but to let that go."

"Listen, baby, what we did today was a barn-raising."

This is what a supportive community looks like.

That's what it was — a beautiful modern version of a community coming together to serve the needs of one of its own. A group easing the burden of an individual. A line of friends forming a human chain to grab hold of the friend at the bottom of a hole and attempt to pull her up.

By providing practical help, her friends also provided emotional support.

Many people who are struggling with depression won't ask for help because they're ashamed. Often they won't accept help even if it's offered sincerely, because they feel unworthy. But O'Malley's friends showed up anyway. And by showing up physically, they supported her emotionally — not by taking away her grief, but by removing some of the practical burdens that made it harder to manage emotionally.

O'Malley pointed out that it could have gone another way. She could have felt offended or hurt. But even if she had, she'd have known her friends cared about her enough to rally together and let her know she wasn't alone.

"These are the kinds of friends I have," she wrote. "Be that kind of friend to others."

An excellent reminder to us all of what love in action can look like.

Family

The great thing about American democracy is the separation of powers. The federal government has rights, states have rights, counties have rights, cities have rights, and we, as people, have rights, too.

Heck, even animals have some rights in the good ol' U S of A.

The president of the United States is not a king or a dictator so a team of U.S. mayors, led by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, are asking to go over his head to negotiate directly at next month's UN climate change conference in Santiago, Chile.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Facebook / Amanda Williams

It can take time to feel comfortable in a new home, especially if you think there are scary monsters lurking about, which is why six-year-old Hayden Williams had trouble sleeping in his new room.

Hayden used to share a room with his 15-year-old sister, but when the Eldridge, Iowa family moved, each kid got their very own. While his sister was excited for the change, Hayden was having a hard time adjusting to the new arrangement.

"My little man has been having severe anxiety since we moved into the new house…I've tried everything under the sun to get him to sleep in his own room. Nothing is helping," his mom, Amanda Williams, wrote on Facebook.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Courtesy of Capital One

It was around Christmas 2018 and Jean Simpkins, 79, was looking out the window of her new three-bedroom apartment. Eleven floors above Washington, D.C., the grandmother of two gazed out at the lights of the city and became overwhelmed with gratitude. "The only thing I could say," Simpkins remembers, "was 'Thank you, Father.'"

Almost a year later, Simpkins still can't help but look at the apartment as a miracle — one she desperately needed. Fifteen years ago, when her grandson was born, she became his primary caregiver. Six years later, when her granddaughter was four, Simpkins was awarded full custody of her, too. She's spent the time since trying to give her grandchildren the life she knows they deserve, which has been difficult on a fixed income. On top of that, Simpkins worried that the neighborhood the family resided in wasn't the best influence on her kids. Something had to change.

Then she learned about Plaza West, a new development created by Mission First housing that would reserve 50 of its apartments specifically for families in which a grandparent or other older adult was raising children who were related to them. The waiting list, Simpkins says, was daunting. There are a great deal of grandfamilies in the D.C. area and she was sure it might be years before she got the call. But soon after applying, she was offered a choice between a two-bedroom and a three-bedroom apartment. She accepted the latter, sight unseen. She knew that each of her grandchildren needed space of their own.

Keep Reading Show less
Future Edge
True
Capital One
via Pixabay

Ninjas are black-clad assassins that date back to the days of feudal Japan. They are skillful, secretive fighters who have mastered the element of surprise, espionage, and clandestine tactics.

Ninjas weren't held to the Bushido code like the samurai, so they could be mercenaries who did the lord's dirty deeds without worrying about their honor. A ninja's most important power is the ability to be stealth and sneak into castles or homes to take their targets by surprise.

Keep Reading Show less
popular