I'm Emma, I'm 18 and this is my best friend and some of things we've been through together.
Friendship is an incredible thing, it’s what connects us with the people around us and they are one of the most important relationships in our lives. They are the people that stick by us in tough times, the ones that laugh at our bad jokes and buy the ice cream when we get our hearts broken. Friends are amazing things but there’s nothing worse than seeing them in pain when you can’t do anything about it. Seeing a friend suffer with mental illness is a terrible thing to witness and you want nothing more than to be able to help, but that can be just as hard.
I started talking to my best friend in early 2013 and since then we’ve been through so much together. She told me that she suffered with depression within the first week of us talking which shocked me. I had no idea that the person I spent hours laughing and joking with could be suffering from depression. She’d seemed so normal, so happy. It was a whole new world to me. I’d never known anything about mental illness until I became friends with Chloe, she opened my eyes to the pain and injustices that came with it.
Most of the time I would forget that there was anything wrong. She could be the most fun loving, happy person in the world, but then there were other times. It was mostly when she’d just come back from school that things seemed worse. I don’t know all the details that went on, I just did what I could and tried to cheer her up. I know what they say about just telling a person with depression to cheer up isn’t the way it works and they’re right it isn’t, but that doesn’t stop you from doing something to put a smile on their face. For me, I always used to tell silly stories, generally about things I’d done, like the one time I went to Buckingham Palace carrying a bench as part of a Scout challenge. It was my little way of helping by trying to make her smile. Sometimes we’d just listen to music together or talk about shows we’d been to and the ones we dreamed of.
Myself and Chloe at an All Time Low show in 2014.
Although I wasn't an expert on depression and never knew if I was doing the right thing, that never stopped me. Sometimes it’s not about knowing the necessary words but about trying. I know there were times where I messed up, asked stupid questions or just said the wrong thing. It’s not always about saying the right words, sometimes it’s the stupidest ones that will make someone smile and that’ll be the thing they need the most. Sometimes it's just about being there, about listening.
There’s a beautiful Stephen Fry quote that always comes to mind when I think about my life over the past three years:
“If you know someone with depression please never resolve to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response in a bad situation; depression is just like the weather. Try to understand the blackness, the lethargy, the hopelessness and the loneliness they are going through. Be there for them when they come out the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it’s one of the best, noblest and kindest things you’ll ever do.”
No matter how hard it is, it’s worth it and in the end it’ll be okay and if it isn’t okay then it’s not the end:-)