I cannot say to her what I would like to - but last week someone else did. This other person told her that she needed to pull herself up out of her depressed state and quit dwelling on her troubles, which only serves to magnify them in her mind. Furthermore, she said, if you never look for the silver linings, you begin to believe that they don't exist and you lose all hope of a better life. It is impossible to gauge whether that conversation will have a positive impact on the depressed woman, but I surely hope so. I am not insensitive to her problems, and I know that depression cannot be cured in a flash, but I do know that one must concentrate on having a better attitude in life or even the smallest things will get you down.
Many years ago, I was friends with a woman whose children attended the same school as mine. We seemed to have a lot in common, so we began to spend a lot of time together, talking over coffee and cigarettes. My family noticed a change in me when I had been with her for the afternoon; I was moody, dark of attitude and grouchy to the point of snapping your head off if you spoke to me.
I didn't realize it at the time, but that woman was what some people refer to as a "psychic vampire". They suck the life out of you without your knowing it. And she surely did. Little by little I realized that all she ever talked about were the bad things in her life; from the childhood where she was not loved to the marriage where she was not appreciated, to the children who were not perfect, the house not adequate, the money never enough. After an hour or two with her, I was as drained as if I had run a marathon.
After I had known her for about 5 years, we moved to another neighborhood. We gradually grew apart, and I have not seen her for more than 20 years. Once I realized the horrid impact she had on me, I vowed I would never get into that kind of trap again. We have a choice: we can allow people to have a negative effect on us, or we can choose not to allow it. Life is too short to dwell on the bad parts all the time. Cheer up and expect the best. Even if you don't get it, you'll be happier along the way!