Depression is a serious disease that can affect millions of people every year. Regardless if you’re young or old, men or women, depression can affect someone anytime and anywhere. It may cause emotional and physical pain, hinder you from living a full life, and may adversely affect those around you. It’s too complex it may be hard to pin down what exactly causes a person’s depression.
But most often, its factors may often revolve around the person’s past experience and life changes.
If your loved one is currently depressed, you may be experiencing a roller coaster of emotions. like anger, guilt, helplessness, sadness, and frustration. All these feelings are expected as it’s never easy to deal with a loved one’s depression. And if you overlook your own welfare, depression can be overwhelming for you too.
For this reason, your care and support are essential for your loved one’s recovery from depression. Furthermore, you can help them get through negative thoughts, encourage them to undergo depression treatments sand repossess their optimism and energy they once had.
To do that, start by understanding all about depression and reading online resources such as this site. Most importantly, you also need to know how to look after your emotional health while taking care of and supporting them.
Despite depression being widely known to affect people of any age, some people still don’t understand how serious this illness can be. Those who have no idea has tendency to call out people with depression as attention seekers, or people who are just lazy and unmotivated, or worse, people who are too dramatic. This biased mindset can only worsen a person’s depression.
That’s why proper awareness and understanding are needed if you’re determined to help your loved one recover from depression.
When your loved one has depression and suddenly says hurtful things or lash out their anger at you, it’s best to keep yourself from taking it personally. Depressed people tend to find difficulty in having a deep emotional connection with anyone, even their close loved ones, including you.
Moreover, avoid taking their unwillingness to do something as laziness. Depression drags down and makes them feel exhausted and impossible to do something in action. As much as you want to fix your loved one’s depression, it’s not going to be easy. Yes, you can offer care, love, and support for them to get better, but their recovery ultimately depends on them.
To understand more about depression, you can read some of the best books on depression. The better you understand what depression is, the more capable you are of helping your depressed loved ones.
Recognizing Symptoms Of Depression
Not every depressed person experienced depression the same way. Thus, symptoms and signs can vary, and it’s on a case-to-case basis. If you’re loved one is experiencing depression; symptoms may include:
- Feeling hopeless about his future and becoming more pessimistic each day
- Unusual irritableness and easily upset
- Constantly talks about being worthless, empty, and guilty
- Trouble sleeping or oversleeping
- Showing less to no interest in the things they once loved
- Listless and no energy to do anything
- Eat more or less than normal
- Trouble making concentration
- Sometimes talks about death or fanaticizing about suicide
- Doesn’t care about anything anymore
- Drug abuse or alcohol abuse
If you notice one or more of these depression symptoms in any of your loved ones, it’s time to look out for them more and be more attentive to their emotional needs.
How To Help A Loved One With Depression?
It’s tough not to feel frustrated and helpless when your loved one is experiencing depression. Fortunately, there are ways you can do to offer help and support them on their way to recovery.
1. Just Listen
This may seem like a little help, but genuinely listening to them can actually make a significant difference for them. People dealing with depression often put themselves into isolation and withdrawal from anything and anyone. Thus, they’re not used to being heard or talked to with.
To show your care and support, you need to be a compassionate listener. Being a listener could be the best thing they need right now than a person who does the talking and ‘giving advice” even when not asked to.
As you start a conversation, encourage them to open up and talk about their feelings and emotions and make sure you listen attentively without any judgment. Moreover, as you listen to them, avoid assuming that you know entirely what they’re going through or generalizing their feelings. For guidance, here are some common statements you must avoid telling a depressed person include:
- ‘That’s all in your head.’
- ‘Start looking on the bright side.’
- ‘Snap out of it!’
- ‘You should feel better by now.’
- ‘Everyone goes through hard times, including me.’
- ‘Why would you wish to die when there’s a lot of reasons to live for?’
- ‘I can’t do anything for you and your problems.’
Avoid telling them what to feel and how to perceive things. The best way you can help is to listen to them and show your warmest support and compassion.
2. Help Them In Finding A Therapist
Understandably, it’s hard for a depressed person to call for help. Thus, you can help find a suitable therapist and make an appointment for them. In case your loved one doesn’t feel connected to the first therapist, don’t hesitate to look for another one until you find someone fit for their needs.
3. Be Positive And Have An Encouraging Attitude
Even if you’re not saying anything, your positive presence could already be a huge help for them. You don’t have to tell them positive things, quotes, or messages. The best way to show your positivity with them is by bringing in your encouraging and optimistic attitude. Be there and be around them whenever you can. Let their therapist take care of their depression while you concentrate on being a positive person around them.
4. Stay Active
Aside from therapy and medication, one of the excellent ways of dealing with depression is staying active. However, you might already know that a depressed person can be difficult to force into joining activities, but don’t lose hope. Even the small action of encouraging your loved one to join you in sitting on the front porch is already a big step towards keeping them active.
In times when they turn your offer down, don’t be discouraged. Rejection is only a symptom of depression, and your gentle and patient encouragement can help.
5. Offer To Help With Their Daily Tasks
Don’t encourage them to inactivity or staying alone and isolated. Keep them moving and active through small efforts like offering to help them with household chores or cleaning tasks. If your depressed loved one has a child, you can offer to babysit their child for a while and let your loved one get out and do other fun activities.
6. Extend Invitations
Depressed people may find it tough to reach out to their friends or even make plans for themselves. And while they keep on canceling plans, it also leads them to feel more guilt and remorse. As they keep on canceling plans and reject invitations from their friends, more people would feel discouraged to invite them, making things worse.
Therefore, even if they’ll reject your invitations, don’t be discouraged by this and make sure you keep on extending your invitations to them. If they cancel, simply reassure them by telling them you understand, and there’s no pressure. Remind them you’ll be there to hang out with them any time until they’re ready.
7. Point Out Their Improvements
It’s prevalent for with people dealing with depression to stop their medications if they feel like nothing is working for them or don’t need it anymore. However, abruptly stopping medications without a doctor’s consultation might only worsen their illness.
Therefore, to encourage your loved one to continue their treatments, therapy, and medication, make sure you constantly point out and remind them of their improvements. You may tell them some positive reinforcements that may help them see their progress through medication.
8. Help In Monitoring Their Treatment
Another way to help your depressed loved ones is by keeping track of their treatments and therapy appointments. Make sure they’re still actively participating in therapy sessions and keep yourself involve by reminding them how therapy had helped them so much for their recovery.
9. Check In With Them Regularly
Don’t be there only during the beginning. Make sure you’re consistent with the care and support you’ve shown them. Don’t forget to check in with them regularly or ask how their therapy went through messages or calls.
If you can, you can also visit them every week to talk and listen to them. Don’t pressure them by saying, ‘You should be fine by now.’ If you check up on them, listen and remind them that you’re there for them. Sooner or later, you’ll notice the improvements, and all your efforts will be worth it.
Taking Care Of Yourself While Helping A Depressed Loved One
As you do all these tips to help your loved one with their depression, you may get so wrapped up you may drop everything for them, including your own well-being. Unfortunately, it’ll only be hard for you to help your loved one with their depression if you’re burned out and exhausted yourself.
This is why making sure you stay on track with yourself and your life by eating well, getting enough sleep, be proactive, and seek support from other people every once in a while. The only way you can help your loved one is when you’re the healthiest and best version of yourself.
Depression may be a serious disorder, but it’s treatable with the help of consistent treatment, medication, therapy, and love and support from the people around you. Remember healing and recovery take time, but with your undying love and support, your loved one will feel better someday, and you’ll be around to witness it.