Warning: This column is not funny. It is truthful, but it won’t make you laugh. I want to talk about depression. Why? Because these past few years have been tough. They have been tough on you, your kids and, honestly, me. So, let’s do a little bit of sharing on a topic that’s not so funny.

The easy thing to do would be to write a column about funny words I’ve discovered or Google “humorous speech topic.” I could easily crank out 600 words and be done, but that feels fake and not very honest to a group of people I’ve come to think of as friends. This funny girl hasn’t been feeling all that funny lately.

There is no reason to list my tale of woes because if you are a regular reader, you know them: the death of my brother, COVID and a bunch of other things that seemed to hit all at once. I sometimes look up at the sky and wonder who I’ve pissed off. But then I realize what I am going through is part of life.

Why talk about it? Since the start of the pandemic there has been a spike in depression. Talking about it helps! I know since I have OCD and regularly talk to a therapist and see a doctor for medication. I’ve always been very open about my mental health. I am never embarrassed, just like I wouldn’t be embarrassed if I had diabetes. It is just who I am. So, what can you do to help if someone you know is struggling with depression?

Friends: Please call, even if you get no response. The cloud of sadness I feel is often lifted when I have a funny conversation with someone I love. No, I don’t want to talk about myself. I want to hear about you and the things you are doing. It doesn’t make me sad. It makes me hopeful. But please know if I cancel plans at the last minute, it is me, not you. Just remember most people really “do want to get over it,” and saying things like “other people have it worse” and “getting out and taking a walk would help” aren’t helpful to a person who is depressed. Listening and talking, that’s helpful!

Family: There are days when getting out of your PJs can be too much, but what a difference it makes. Clothing and a made bed feels like such an accomplishment. Next thing you know, you are ready to tackle one more task and one more after that. Encouragement without judgment is hard, I know, but if you can do it, it does make a difference. And remember, the depressed person knows their depression hurts the entire family and already feels pretty darn guilty about it.

Professional help sometimes seems like admitting failure. I am used to therapy because of my OCD. Therapy is the place you get to say anything. I can’t describe how freeing it is to connect with the right therapist. It took me a while to find her, so don’t give up.

Depression is not your fault. It’s just your brain’s chemical balance out of whack. I am not a medical professional—though I often act like one—but I do have the good sense to tell you that if you are depressed, talk to your doctor. They will help, but if they don’t, let me know. I’ll yell at them for you.

Funny comes next issue. Peace my Peeps!