1. Chances are you didn't realise your friend had depression when you first met.
2. And when you found out, it didn't affect your friendship at all. It just helped you understand that mental illness really can affect anybody.
3. Now, whenever you hear people describe depression with words like "lazy", "selfish", and "attention-seeking", it makes your blood boil.
4. And even though you try not to, you occasionally slip up and use words like "mental", "nuts", and "crazy" around your friend.
5. And then you feel really guilty afterwards.
6. But you know that your bestie won't be mortally offended, because obviously you don't mean anything by it.
7. If you don't hear from your pal for a day or two, you bust out the triple-message threat of text, Facebook, and WhatsApp to check they're OK.
8. Around once a month, you freak out when your mate pocket dials you at 1am, and then inadvertently wake them up by calling them back.
9. But you've also learnt that sometimes your friend needs space, and it's nothing personal if they duck under the radar occasionally.
10. Sending letters and postcards to each other peps your friend up, even if you live in the same city.
11. So do cute animal videos. Because tbh, who doesn't need a cute animal video in their inbox on a Monday morning?
12. You know when your friend is having an "off" day, whether they've sent you a curt text or a smile that doesn't sit quite right.
13. But when they're on form, you notice that too.
14. You may have witnessed your friend having a panic attack, and it made you feel about as useful as a pair of Lenny Kravitz' trousers during a vigorous guitar solo.
15. You become overprotective when it comes to vetting their Tinder dates, because you know how many ghosting time-wasters there are out there.
16. Thinking about how badly your friend has been let down along the way by people who should have been supportive makes you sad and angry.
17. And if you see them bare their scars at the gym, beach, or pool, it inspires you immeasurably.
18. Remembering the times you've seen your pal at their worst freaks you out.
19. And yet sometimes those days seem so far away that they seem a different person altogether.
20. That said, you know mental health problems are not something that can simply be cured and forgotten about; they're issues that require long-term management.
21. You get over-the-top proud when your friend achieves something at work.
22. And thinking about how far they've come makes you smile.
23. As well as how far they're going to go.
24. You know that dealing with depression has made your friend mature, resilient, and able to laugh about even the darkest of topics.
25. And dealing with your friend's depression has made you stronger too.
26. Your friend is always the first person to offer help and support when you are going through a hard time, because they've been there before.
27. And even though your friend's depression has meant cancelling plans, you know not to get angry or hurt when they need to reschedule.
28. You've also learned how to have an amazing time socialising with them stone-cold sober.
29. And you know that some of the best nights involve good home-cooked food and Netflix.
30. Who wants to get wasted on tequila in a grimy bar anyway?
31. Seeing them in a happy, healthy relationship makes you happy too.
32. Although you secretly worry about the repercussions for their health if things don't work out.
33. You've wrestled over how to explain the situation to other friends whilst still respecting your bestie's privacy.
34. And you've probably lied about their absences from social occasions once or twice.
35. Seeing someone close to you use antidepressants to reach a stable place means you no longer read articles about "big pharma" conspiracies.
36. And you probably know the names of so many meds that you deserve an honorary chemistry degree.
37. It makes you angry when people back away when your friend opens up about her mental illness.
38. And the people who dropped your friend when they needed them are no longer your friends.
39. The main thing is: You know that depression isn't contagious or shameful, so you're sticking around.
40. Seeing depression glamorised, romanticised, and generally trivialised on telly and in films worries you.
41. Having a best friend with depression makes you more conscious of understanding how everyone around you is feeling.
42. You encourage your friend's talents and never let them believe that they're not good at anything.
43. You'd do anything to make sure they always know there's a reason to stay alive.
44. Reading books by authors like Sylvia Plath and listening to artists like Elliott Smith really resonates with you.
45. And seeing what your friend has gone through has encouraged you to make a conscious effort to prioritise your own mental health.
46. You may have your reservations about support groups, but you know your friend has benefited from their help.
47. Watching your BFF totally charm your moody Uber driver when you know they're not feeling 100% makes you remember how amazing they are.
48. You can both crack up over badly timed phrases, like if your friend exclaims "I'd rather kill myself than watch another programme about the Kardashians" a few hours after being discharged from a psych ward.
49. Your chats descend into the realm of feels so often that a transcript of your conversations would look like lyrics from a Drake album.
50. And although there are times when you worry about what the future holds for your friend…
51. …you know that depression doesn't define your friendship, or stop them from being a brilliant best mate.
Note: This post was written under a pseudonym, and describes one person's experience. Everyone experiences depression differently, and just because someone doesn't exhibit the symptoms described in this post doesn't mean they aren't suffering.
If you need information on depression or want to talk about your depression, you can call the Rethink advice and information service on 0300 5000 927 (10am–1pm), if you're in the UK.
The Depression Alliance, a charity for sufferers of depression, has a network of self-help groups.
You can call the Samaritans for confidential support if you're experiencing feelings of distress or despair on 08457 90 90 90 (24-hour helpline).
And you can call the Crisis Call Center at 1-800-273-8255 at any time of the day if you're based in the US.