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I think one thing you can do to help your friends who are depressed is to reach out to them not in the spirit of helping, but in the spirit of liking them and wanting their company. “I’m here to help if you ever need me” is good to know, but hard to act on, especially when you’re in a dark place. Specific, ongoing, pleasure-based invitations are much easier to absorb. “I’m here. Let’s go to the movies. Or stay in and order takeout and watch some dumb TV.” “I’m having a party, it would be really great if you could come for a little while.” Ask them for help with things you know they are good at and like doing, so there is reciprocity and a way for them to contribute. “Will you come over Sunday and help me clear my closet of unfashionable and unflattering items? I trust your eye.” “Will you read this story I wrote and help me fix the dialogue?” “Want to make dinner together? You chop, I’ll assemble.” “I am going glasses shopping and I need another set of eyes.” Remind yourself why you like this person, and in the process, remind them that they are likable and worth your time and interest.

Talk to the parts of the person that aren’t being eaten by the depression. Make it as easy as possible to make and keep plans, if you have the emotional resources to be the initiator and to meet your friends a little more than halfway. If the person turns down a bunch of invitations in a row because (presumably) they don’t have the energy to be social, respect their autonomy by giving it a month or two and then try again. Keep the invitations simple; “Any chance we could have breakfast Saturday?” > “ARE YOU AVOIDING ME BECAUSE YOU’RE DEPRESSED OR BECAUSE YOU HATE ME I AM ONLY TRYING TO HELP YOU.” “I miss you and I want to see you” > “I’m worried about you.” A depressed person is going to have a shame spiral about how their shame is making them avoid you and how that’s giving them more shame, which is making them avoid you no matter what you do. No need for you to call attention to it. Just keep asking. “I want to see you” “Let’s do this thing.” “If you are feeling low, I understand, and I don’t want to impose on you, but I miss your face. Please come have coffee with me.” “Apology accepted. ApologIES accepted. So. Gelato and Outlander?”

#613: How do I reach out to my friends who have depression? | Captain Awkward

P.S. A lot of people with depression and other mental illnesses have trouble making decisions or choosing from a bunch of different options. “Wanna get dinner at that pizza place on Tuesday night?” is a LOT easier to answer than “So wanna hang out sometime? What do you want to do?”

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Not my actual Kidney. 

Danny Weinkauf has, for like 15 years, been the bassist for They Might Be Giants. He wrote their song “I’m a Paleontologist" which you may have heard…he’s also won two grammies and written and produced music for dozens of TV shows. So when he was like "Hey, I’m doing a children’s album, do  you want to write a song with me?" I was like "GHGHHFHFHHDHWWW!"

So, together we wrote “The Kidney That Lived in Four People" which is the (semi) true story of a Kidney that existed inside of four different bodies (so far). The names have been changed, everything else is true.

A couple weeks ago, we decided it would be cool to hold a little contest.

So, for all filmmakers, animators, artists, and etc…if you’d like to create a music video for the song, the winner (as selected by us) and three runners up will win this very nice Kidney model signed by me and Danny. The top submission will have their video posted on Hankschannel and Danny’s YouTube channel. 

You can get Danny’s full album “No School Today” on Amazon and iTunes and most other places where music comes from.

Full information on the contest is here.

Reminder! Entries are due by October 30th!

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