You do sound like a good friend, in a deeply challenging situation.
Personally, I believe you're off to a good start when you ask 'What can I do?' It is a fair question that your friend may simply have no clear answer for. For me, during my years in depression (which finally came to an end some years ago), if someone had have asked me that question, 'What can I do?', I think my general answer would have been 'Save me!' I wanted someone, anyone to save me. I wanted to be rescued from the mindset. I kind of resented people for not being able to save me during those trying years, based on the belief I couldn't save myself. I felt helpless.
Perhaps your response could be 'Yes, you need to tell me. You need to guide me to understand how you're feeling right now'. Maybe some questions you could offer:
- 'What do you feel has triggered your current feelings? What or who has led you to...?' Could involve anger, resentment, disappointment, hopelessness etc
- 'What or who are you feeling deeply challenged by right now?'
- 'How would you like to manage the challenge you face?' For example, your friend could be upset by the fact they never spoke up when someone degraded them. They wish they'd spoken up. They always wish they'd speak up but never do. So, how could they manage speaking up in the future? What is it that leads them to not speak up? Is it some ingrained mental programming?
- 'Are you feeling exhausted? What do you imagine would make a difference, leading you to feel less exhausted?' Could involve diet, hydration, healthier sleep patterns, a bit more solar power (a bit of sitting outside on a sunny day, getting some vitamin D) and so on
Just a few suggestions. From personal experience, looking back, I think what would have made some difference during my depression was having someone there who could lead me to wonder. There were a heck of a lot of statements going on in my head during those dark years but not many constructive questions, leading to helpful revelations. I believed I was hopeless because no one led me to wonder what had me hoping less and less. I believed I was 'a loser' because no one ever led me to question what I was losing. Turned out to be my natural sense of self. I believed life was terrible because no one ever led me to wonder what life was really all about.
'I am a good friend who is here for you. You need to tell me how you want me to be here, in this moment' may be a trigger for them to begin wondering exactly how.