Small Acts That Change Everything

Dec 06, 2018    /    philosophy

It was mid-November when a friend reached out and asked if I had time to talk.

She was in the throes of depression and struggling to even take on simple tasks. She’d found herself crying over paperwork for her new job. She couldn’t bear to look at her creative projects. It was a lot to simply brush her teeth and get out of bed in the morning.

Because that’s how depression is. It makes every task – tasks that should be so small, so simple – ten, twenty, thirty times harder. It’s like wading through water. It slows you down, steals your energy. A mile of walking in knee-deep water takes more effort than a mile walking on a paved path.

I remember some days like that, myself. Especially in my mid-twenties. Even now, some days small tasks take all my strength. And when I was in the worst of my depression in my mid-twenties, it was much worse.

She told me how she was feeling. I asked her questions. She said she probably needed an emergency therapy appointment, but she no longer had a therapist.

And I asked if I could help her find one.

She said yes.

And so for the next fifteen or twenty minutes, I mined my resources. I searched the affordable therapy spreadsheet. I read through profiles on Psychology Today. And I found someone in my friend’s price range, within a reasonable distance, and with a profile that resonated.

Two days later, my friend went to see her new therapist for the first time. And so far it looks like it’s going to be a good fit.

For me, it was a reminder.

Something that might be easy for me to do might be breathtakingly hard for someone else. Fifteen minutes of my time could save her a day’s worth of energy. And vice versa. Sometimes Chad makes a phone call for me and that five minutes of his time saves my emotional energy for hours.

So, in case you need a reminder: There are small things you can do that can save someone else’s day.

If a friend tells you they’re depressed, offer to find them a therapist. Offer to make the call and set up the appointment. Offer to make phone calls or help with small tasks. Do they need a hot meal? Someone to help them fill out a form? Someone to call the credit card company to dispute a charge?

There are a thousand little things that are easy when you’re doing okay and impossibly hard when you’re not.

Offering to help in small ways can make a huge difference.

And they may say no. They may be okay doing it on their own. Or they may be deeply relieved that someone offered because they didn’t have the energy to ask.

Just a reminder. Take care of each other, friends.

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