I was relating today’s unique blend of depression to a friend earlier. She said something supportive and then added, “Not that that helps.”

I laughed.

No, my friend. Your words of encouragement don’t make the shitty stuff stop being shitty. Shit is, well, shitty that way. It’s messy and smelly and it goes fucking everywhere, especially when fans are involved.

Your sweet words are sweet, but they’re like potpourri on a pile of dead bodies. There aren’t enough dried petals in the world to mask that scent. In that sense, no, you’re not “helping.”

And at the same time, you are.

Encouragement, even when it doesn’t immediately improve my mood, is really, really powerful. It’s a lifeline that keeps me (at least kinda) sane.

I try to explain this to friends all the time.

I’ll be whining or bitching or crying, my world in shambles, and someone will try to be nice and supportive. If my mood doesn’t change, they think they failed. But they didn’t. I noticed. And their kindness helped.

God only knows where I’d be right now if I didn’t feel like someone cares about me.

So if you know someone trans, be nice to him/her. And if your trans friend is having a rough day, and you’re kind, and they don’t immediately do cartwheels, chill. Your kindness probably still meant something. It was likely still powerful.

You just won’t always see an immediate effect.