Depression is an extreme but treatable illness that affects thousands of individuals, from young to old and from all walks of life. It gets in the way of day-to-day life, causing enormous pain, hurting not just those who suffer from it but influencing those around them as well.
You can feel a range of complex emotions if someone you love is depressed, including helplessness, annoyance, rage, anxiety, guilt, and sadness. Those emotions are all-natural. Caring for a loved one with depression is not easy, and it can become unbearable if you ignore your well-being.
That being said, your companionship and support can be crucial for your loved one’s rehabilitation. You can help them deal with symptoms of depression, resolve suicidal feelings, and recover their energy, happiness, and life satisfaction. Start by learning what you can about your friend or family member’s depression and how best to talk about it. However, don’t forget to care about your mental well-being when you reach out; you will need it to have the full help your loved one deserves.
Understanding depression in a member of a friend or family
Depression is a severe problem and try not to underrate its severity. It consumes the vitality, hope, and inspiration of an individual. Your depressed loved one can not simply “snap out of it” by sheer force of will.
Depression symptoms aren’t personal
Depression symptoms make it impossible for a person to communicate with others, including the people they love the most, on a profound emotional level. For depressed people, it’s often normal to say hateful things and lash out in frustration. Remember that this is the speech of depression, not your loved one, so please don’t take it seriously.
Trying to hide the problem will not make it go away
If you try to make excuses, cover up the issue, or lie to a friend or family member who is depressed, it doesn’t help anyone involved. In fact, this may keep the depressed individual from getting treatment.
Your loved one is unmotivated or lazy
When your loved one is struggling with depression, just thinking about doing the things, which can make them feel better can seem overwhelming or difficult to put into action. As you urge your loved one to take the first tentative steps to heal, have patience.
You can’t “fix” the depression of someone else
You can’t save anyone from depression or solve the problem for them as much as you may like to. You’re not to blame for the depression of your loved one or accountable for their happiness (or lack of it). Although you can give love and help, healing is completely in the hands of the depressed individual.
Recognizing signs of depression in a loved one
In the battle against depression, family and friends are often the first lines of defence. That’s why the signs and symptoms of depression are essential to recognize. Before they do, you may note the issue in a troubled loved one, and your influence, as well as concern, may inspire them to seek assistance. Be worried if your loved one:
Doesn’t appears to be interested in anything anymore
A person suffering from depression tend to lose interest in work, gender, hobbies, and other enjoyable activities or isolate themselves from friends, relatives, and social events.
Expresses a gloomy or adverse life perspective
If your loved one is unusually sad, irritable, short-tempered, critical or moody or speaking of feeling “helpless” or “hopeless.” He or she is depressed.
Complain of pains
He or she complains of pains such as headaches, stomach disorders, and back pain, or he/she complains of feeling tired and exhausted all the time.
Oversleeps or sleeps less than expected.
Eats a lot
Eats more or less than average, and has recently gained or lost weight.
Drink more or misuse medications as a means to self-medicating how they feel, like prescription sleeping pills and painkillers.
How to discuss depression with someone
Occasionally, when speaking to others about depression, it is difficult to know what to say. You may be afraid that if you raise your concerns, the individual will get upset, feel offended, or disregard your concerns. You may be uncertain about the questions you need to ask or how to be supportive you need to be.
The following tips may help if you don’t know where to begin. However, remember that it’s much more crucial to be a caring listener than offering advice. You don’t always have to attempt to “fix” a friend or member of your family; you just need to be a good listener.
Sometimes, the simple act of communicating face to face can be an immense help for those suffering from depression. Motivate the depressed person to talk about their feelings without judgment, and be ready to listen.
Don’t expect the end of it to be a single discussion. Depressed individuals tend to move away and isolate themselves from others. You may have to show your concern and your ability to listen again and again. Be gentle, and be constant.
Starting the discussion
Seeking a way to initiate a conversation with your loved one about depression is always the most challenging part. You might try to say:
- Lately, I’ve been feeling worried about you.
- I’ve seen some changes in you lately and wondered how you’re doing.
- I needed to check in with you because lately, you seemed to be pretty unhappy.
You could ask questions once you’re speaking, like:
- When did you start feeling this way?
- Has something happened that made you begin to feel this way?
- How can I help you in the best way right now?
- Have you been thinking about getting help?
Note that being supportive includes providing motivation as well as hope. Most often, this is a matter of speaking to the individual in language that they will understand and can react to while in a depressed state of mind.
What can I say that helps:
- You are never alone. I’m here for you during this challenging time.
- It may be not easy to believe at this moment, but the way you feel will improve.
- Let me be aware if you need any assistance.
- I care for you and want to help, even though I can’t understand exactly how you feel. You’re important to me, and your life is valuable.
- when you feel like giving up say to yourself that you’re going to hang on for just for one more day, hour, or minute, whatever you can handle
Avoid saying things like:
- It’s all in your head
- Everybody goes through difficult times.
- Try and look on the bright side.
- Why do you wish to die when there is so much to live for?
- I can’t do anything about your condition.
- Snap out of it, already.
- You should be feeling much better already
It may be difficult to think that anything as drastic as suicide will ever be contemplated by the individual you know and love, but a depressed person does not see any other option. Depression influences judgement and distorts perception, leading a person who is generally rational to believe that suicide is the only way of ending the pain they feel.
Since suicide is a genuine risk when a person is depressed, it is crucial to be aware of the signs:
- Talking about death, committing suicide, or damaging themself
- Expressing despair or self-hate thoughts
- Acting in reckless or self-destructive ways
- Putting things in order and saying farewell
- Searching for pills, guns or other deadly items
- A sudden sense of calm after depression
If you feel that a friend or family member may be contemplating suicide, don’t wait, speak to them about your worries. Many individuals feel very uncomfortable trying to bring up the subject. However, for someone who is thinking about suicide, it’s among the best things you can do. Speaking freely about suicidal thoughts can save an individual’s life, so speak up if you are worried and urgently seek professional help!
Encouraging your loved one to get support
While you can’t control the healing process of depression from somebody else, you can begin by motivating the depressed person to seek help. It can be tough to get a depressed person into care. Depression dampens energy and enthusiasm, so your loved one may find even the act of scheduling an appointment or finding a doctor overwhelming. Negative forms of thinking are also involved in depression. The depressed person may think that the condition is hopeless and find seeking help pointless.
Because of these barriers, it is an important step in depression recovery to get your loved one to confess to the issue and make them see that it can be resolved. If your loved ones reject seeking help:
Suggest a comprehensive doctor check-up
Your loved one might be less worried about seeing a family physician than a mental health professional. A routine doctor’s visit is actually a great choice because the doctor will rule out medical causes of depression. They can recommend your loved one to a therapist or psychologist if the doctor diagnoses depression. Usually, all the difference is made by this “educated” opinion.
Offer to help locate a doctor or therapist for the troubled person and go with them on the first appointment
It can be hard to get the right treatment provider, and it is always a trial-and-error operation. It would be a big help for a depressed person who is still low on energy if you can help make calls and book appointments.
Encourage your loved one to compile a detailed list of symptoms and illnesses to discuss with the doctor
You might also bring up stuff you’ve observed as an outside observer, such as, “You tend to feel a lot worse in the morning,” or “You often have stomach aches before work.”
Supporting the care of your loved one
Offering your genuine love and compassion during the recovery process is among the most significant things you can do to aid a friend or family with depression. This includes being caring and patient, which is not always easy when dealing with the negative feelings, hostility, and moodiness that go hand-in-hand with depression. Below ways to support your loved ones:
Provide whatever support the individual needs (and is prepared to accept)
Assist your loved one in making as well as managing appointments, treatment plans for study, and keep on schedule for any recommended medication.
Have reasonable aspirations
Watching a depressed loved one struggle, particularly if progress is slow or stalled, can be upsetting. It is important to have patience. Recovery from depression does not happen immediately, even with optimal care.
Invite your loved one to join you in inspiring events, like having dinner at a favourite restaurant or going to a funny movie. Exercise is particularly useful, so try and get your depressed loved one moving. One of the best choices is to take a stroll together. Don’t get frustrated or stop asking. Be gentle and affectionately persistent.
Help when possible
It can be tough for anyone with depression to operate seemingly small tasks. Volunteer to help out with household duties or activities, but do what you can without burning yourself out.
Caring for yourself
There’s a normal tendency for people to try and address the problems of someone we care about. The thing is that you can’t control some else’s depression. Nonetheless, you can monitor just how much you take care of yourself. It’s just as essential for you to remain safe as it is for the suicidal person to get help, so make your well-being a priority.
Before you attempt to assist someone who is unhappy, make sure your well-being and happiness are stable. If you crumble under the burden of trying to assist, you will not do your friend or family member any good. You’ll have the energy you need to offer a helping hand when your needs are taken care of.
You may be reluctant to speak out when a depressed person in your life frustrates you or lets you down. However, a straightforward conversation will ultimately assist the relationship in the long run. Your loved one will notice these negative feelings and feel much worse if you stay silent and let anger grow. Kindly speak about how you feel and suppressing emotions might make it too difficult to connect with empathy.
Set up boundaries
When you let your life be dominated by your loved one’s depression, your health will suffer. Set real boundaries on what you are willing and able to do in order to prevent exhaustion and frustration. You are not the psychologist of your loved one, so do not take on the role.
Keep track of your life
Although certain changes may be inevitable in your everyday life while caring for your loved ones, do your best to uphold appointments and plans. If your depressed loved one refuses to go on an outing or trip you had scheduled, ask a friend to accompany you instead.
By turning to others for comfort, you aren’t betraying your troubled relative or friend. It will help you get through this difficult time by attending a support group, talking to a counsellor or clergyman, or having a trusted friend.
You do not need to go into depth about the depression or compromise confidences of your loved one; concentrate on your feelings and what you know. Make sure that with the person you turn to; you can be absolutely honest with. Choose someone who will listen without interference and without judging you.