I have suffered from depression and still am afflicted with the vestiges thereof. One of the things I have come to realize is that suffering depression is a unique experience. When you meet someone and you start talking about the experience of depression, you can often soon tell whether or not they have suffered with this affliction.
Those who have suffered often have an immediate empathy with the things you are recounting. Those that have not experienced it soon seem to have that “glazed eyes” look which displays their non-comprehension.
If you are someone who has never suffered and you want to help sufferers be aware of this. And in being aware seek to be extra-attentive in listening to what the person is recounting. Make sure you avoid the glib “pull yourself together” and “snap out of it” statements.
It is often very difficult for a depressed person to reveal their ordeal. However, for them to be able to speak and know that they have a sympathetic ear can help in coming to terms with the illness. It can also be a very important part of moving forward to overcome depression.
May there be more sympathetic listening ears among us.