Hello. I'm 16 years old and a bisexual female. I've been “out of the closet” since 8th grade now (it was too stuffy and cramped in that closet!) I used to be depressed. Of course, no one really knew because I’m an expert at hiding emotions in public. (Yes, I'm a drama geek) HOWEVER, I was recently able to banish the year-long depression into oblivion.
I have quite a few gay, bisexual, and lesbian friends that are really close to me and I care a lot about them. Almost 80% of them are depressed and I'm becoming worried that if I hang out with depressed people, mine will come back. I've already felt tempted to just give up and fall back into it. At the same time, they are my friends and I don't just want to abandon them because they are depressed. I want to help them! What should I do?
Kudos to you for leaving that stuffy and cramped closet! It takes some guts and determination to do so, especially when you are in 8th grade.
It is understandable that you are worried about your depressed friends, yet feel scared that helping them may bring back your own depression. Being around friends who are struggling with constant sadness and feeling hopeless and helpless can indeed be overwhelming and even exhausting. Since you are not a trained professional who can help your friends get out of their depression and feel better, they may need more than you can provide. I suggest you go to a school counselor or to a trusted adult and share your worries with them. You can always express your concern about their level of depression without “outing” them, if that is a concern. You may also think of encouraging your friends to talk about their problems with their parents, if possible, as they would ideally be involved in the healing process.
Trying to handle your friends’ depression on your own is probably not the best idea. If you’d like some support through this time, you can always call The Trevor Helpline at 866.4.U.TREVOR (866.488.7386). Since it sounds like you are a caring and empathic person, I am sure you will make the right decision, even if your friends say they do not want to have anyone else involved. Be aware that if you talk to an adult and ask for help, your friends might be angry at you for a while. Yet, if you do nothing you may risk losing them. Depression is a risk factor in suicide.