Helping Someone With Depression
Helping a loved one who is going through depression can be a very tough process. Depression is something that cannot be overlooked. When someone is depressed, they may say that they are perfectly fine but deep down inside they could be having feelings of suicide, and worthlessness.
Your support and encouragement can play a very important role in your loved one’s recovery. Depression is a serious but treatable disorder that affects millions of people, from young to old and from all walks of life. Depression gets in the way of everyday life, causing tremendous pain, hurting not just those suffering from it but also impacting everyone around them.
When Someone You Love Is Depressed
When someone you love is depressed, they may be experiencing any number of difficult emotions, including helplessness, frustration, anger, fear, guilt, and sadness. These feelings are all normal, but can be extremely difficult to deal with when you have a friend or family member who is going through depression. Depression is a serious condition and should never be underestimated. Depression drains a person’s energy, optimism, and motivation.
The symptoms of depression aren’t personal at all. Depression makes it difficult for a person to connect on a deep emotional level with anyone, even the people they love the most. It’s also common for depressed people to say hurtful things and lash out in anger. One thing to keep in mind is that this is the depression talking, not your loved one… so try not to take it personal.
Your loved one may even try to hide the problem, but that won’t make it go away. It doesn’t help anyone involved if they try to make excuses, covering up the problem, or lying for a friend or family member who is depressed. This could make keep the depressed person from seeking treatment.
Just know that your loved one isn’t crazy, lazy or unmotivated. When you’re suffering from depression, just thinking about doing the things that may help you feel better can seem exhausting or impossible to put into action. So please have patience as you encourage your loved one to take the first small steps to recovery.
Recognizing Depression Symptoms In A Loved One:
- Doesn’t seem to care about anything anymore: Has lost interest in work, sex, hobbies, and other pleasurable activities. Has withdrawn from friends, family, and other social activities.
- Expresses a bleak or negative outlook on life: Is uncharacteristically sad, irritable, short-tempered, critical, or moody. May talk about feeling helpless or hopeless.
- Frequently complains of aches and pains: Such as headaches, stomach problems, and back pain. Or complains of feeling tired and drained all the time.
- Sleeps less than usual or oversleeps: Has become indecisive, forgetful, disorganized, and out of it.
- Eats more or less than usual: Has recently gained or lost weight.
- Drinks more or abuses drugs: May be prone to using sleeping pills and painkillers, as a way to self-medicate how they’re feeling.
How To Talk To Someone About Depression
Sometimes it is hard to know just what to say to someone who is depressed. Just remember, being supportive involves offering encouragement and hope.
Here’s what you can say that may help:
- You’re not alone. I’m here for you during this tough time
- It may be hard to believe right now, but the way you’re feeling will change
- Please tell me what I can do now to help you
- Even if I’m not able to understand exactly how you feel, I care about you and want to help
- You’re important to me. Your life is important to me
- When you want to give up, tell yourself you will hold on for just one more day, hour or minute… whatever you can manage
Suicide Is Very Real
If the person you know is thinking about or talking about suicide, please don’t take it lightly. That person in their mind really believes that if they were no longer here, everything will be better. Depression clouds judgement and distorts thinking, causing a normally rational person to believe that death is the only way to end the pain they’re feeling.
If you believe your loved one is at an immediate risk for suicide, do NOT leave them alone. In the U.S., dial 911 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at: 1-800-273-TALK. In other country’s, call your country’s emergency services number or visit IASP to find a suicide prevention helpline.
Here are some important warning signs to look for:
- Talking about suicide, dying, or harming oneself, a preoccupation with death
- Expressing feelings of hopelessness or self-hate
- Acting in dangerous or self-destructive ways
- Seeking out pills, weapons, or other lethal objects
- A sudden sense of calm after depression
Hopefully after reading this article you’ll be better equipped to help your loved one get the help they need to get through their depression. Please feel free to share your experience in the comments below! Stay safe and God bless.