Do you have any loved ones or friends who are living with depression? You’re not alone.
According to the recent surveys from the National Institute of Mental Health, just 7% of all US adults experienced major depression in 2017.
But not everyone person experiences depression in the same way, and symptoms can vary.
If your loved one or friend is experiencing depression, they can:
- Look sad or tearful.
- Appear more negative than normal or hopeless about the future.
- Talk about feeling guilty or worthless.
- Get upset quickly or are irritable.
- Have less energy, move slowly, seem listless,
- Have trouble sleeping, or sleep much higher than usual.
- Careless about their activities and interests.
- Have trouble focusing or deciding on things.
- Talk about suicide or death or.
Here, we’ll go over ten things you can do to help as well as a few things to avoid.
Table of Contents
Listen to them
Let people know you’re there for them. You start the conversation by sharing your concerns and asking a particular question. For example, you can say, “It looks like you’ve been having a hard time recently. What’s on your mind?”
Keep in mind that depressed people want to talk about what they feel, but they might not want any advice from you.
Engage with your friend or colleague by using these active listening techniques:
- Ask questions to get information instead of assuming you understand what they mean.
- Validate their feelings. You can say, “That sounds very difficult. I’m sorry to hear that.”
- Showing interest with your body language.
Continue asking questions (without being pushy) and expressing your concern with your loved one. Try to have conversations in person possible. If you live in different areas, you can try on video chatting.
I had earlier shared: How To Treat Postpartum Depression?. I hope you read the post.
Help them find support.
People may not be aware they’re dealing with depression or how to reach out for support.
Even if they know any therapy could help, it can be daunting to search for a therapist and get an appointment.
If people seem interested in counseling, offer to help them, potential therapists. You also can help your friend list things to ask possible therapists and things they want to mention in their first session.
You must read this article: What Is Music Therapy?
Take care of yourself.
If you put your energy into supporting your friend or loved one, you’ll have little left for yourself. And if you’re feeling hurt or frustrated, you won’t be helpful to your friend.
Set boundaries can help. For example, you let your friend know you’re available to talk after you get home from your work, but not before then.
Spending a lot of time with depressed people or a loved one who has depression takes an emotional toll. Know the limits around difficult emotions, and make sure you take time to recharge.
Also read: Play Therapy Activities
Offer to help with everyday tasks.
With depression, day-to-day tasks can feel amazing. Things like grocery shopping, laundry, or paying bills can start to pile up, making it hard to know where to start.
Your loved ones appreciate an offer of help, but they might not be able to say what they need help with.
Depression normally improves with treatment, but it can be a very slow process that involves unusual trial and error. They have to try different counseling programs or medications before they find one that helps with their symptoms.
Depression does not have a clear recovery timeline. So expecting your friend to respond to themself after a few weeks in therapy won’t help either of you.
To learn more, you can read: Is Psychotherapy Effective?
Stay in touch
Telling your friend that you still care about them as they continue to work for depression may help.
Even if you cannot spend time with them daily, check-in regularly with a text message, phone call, or short visit, even sending a quick text saying, “I’ve been thinking of you and I care about you,” can help.
There are some things not to do with depressed people.
Don’t take things personally.
Your loved one’s depression isn’t your mistake, just as it’s not their fault.
If they attack you out of desperation, keep canceling plans, or don’t want to do anything, don’t let it get at you.
Sometimes it may happen that at some point, you may need some break from your loved one. It’s fine to take some space for yourself if you feel emotional, but it’s important to avoid blaming your friend or things that might contribute to their negative feelings.
Must read: Goals Of Supportive Psychotherapy
Don’t try to fix them.
Can Homeopathy treat depression and anxiety?
Here are some homeopathy medicines for depression without side effects.
- Arsenicum album
- Aurum metallicum
- Calcarea carbonica
- Natrum carbonicum
When it’s time to intervene?
Depression can increase a person’s risk of self-injury or suicide, so knowing how to recognize the signs is helpful.
Some symptoms that indicate your friend is having severe suicidal feelings include:
- Mood swings or personality changes
- Talking about dying
- Purchasing a weapon
- Increased substance use
- Dangerous behavior
If your friend is considering suicide, ask them to visit or call their doctor.
You can take people to an emergency room. If possible, stay with them until they no longer feel harmful. Make sure they can’t reach any weapons or drugs.
Encourage your friend to talk to their therapist about the thoughts if they haven’t previously. Then, offer to help them create a safety plan if they think they act on those thoughts.
Are you using one of these medications from the above list? If yes, then tell us how has your experience been so far? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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