Are you experience depression? Or, perhaps you know someone who is living and battling depression? Well, you are not alone.
Depression, in its mildest form, can simply mean feeling low. Although feeling sad from time to time can be a natural part of life, for some people, feelings of sadness, despair or melancholic feelings can be a part of their daily lives and can prevent them from living their normal lives.
Research states that at least one in four people will experience a mental health issue in their lifetime, and depression is usually one of the most common illnesses. It is not something to be ashamed of.
However, regardless of this fact, the stigma that comes with mental health often hinders people from understanding depression properly. People usually feel awkward toward those with depression or are unable to help those who are experiencing it.
Although people exhibit symptoms differently, if someone you know is experiencing some of these symptoms listed below, they may be having depression.
- When they seem sad or tearful all the time.
- They appear more pessimistic than usual or feel hopeless about the future.
- When they talk about feeling guilty, empty, or worthless always.
- They seem less interested in spending time together with friends and loved ones or they communicate less.
- Get upset easily or become unusually easily irritated.
- They have low energy and become sluggish.
- When they begin to neglect their appearance or hygiene, such as showering and brushing their teeth.
- When they experience difficulty sleeping or sleep much more than usual.
- They lack interest or lose interest in things they used to care about.
- When they become forgetful or begin to lose concentration.
- When they begin to eat more or less than usual.
- They talk more about death or suicide.
Here, we will be taking you through some things you can do to help a person with depression:
1. Be Compassionate
Compassion is vital in helping someone recover from whatever form of illness, especially depression. Whether it is encouraging them to do something that might help them cope with their illness, like seeking the right treatment, or helping to do some things they struggle with. You could encourage them slowly to talk about their feelings or make them aware that you fully and completely understand if they are not ready to open up. Reassure them that their situation will get better and let them know you are there to support them no matter the situation.
2. Understand Them
Understand that they are going through a very difficult time, and their behavior may seem odd and unpredictable. They are very likely to act in ways that seem weird or out of character to you. It is usually not easy when dealing with the negativity, hostility, and moodiness that is exhibited by depressed people but you have to try to understand that they don’t necessarily mean what they say or do in their current state of mind.
Therefore, it is advisable not to take it personally or blame them. Rather, try to reassure them and don’t judge them.
3. Be Patient
It can take a very long time for a person to fully recover from depression. The illness is an ongoing battle throughout their lifetime and they usually have to learn how to manage the situation, so be prepared for relapses. Even with treatment, it may take a long time before they start to improve. Therefore, it is important to be patient.
A person with depression will have both good and bad days, so all they need at this point is your genuine love and support. Always listen to them and render as much support as you can. Spend time with them when they want to and when they want to be left alone, do the same while still checking on them occasionally.
4. Be Attentive
Always let them know you are there for them. Engage in conversations with them and ask them specific questions. Sometimes, they may just want to talk about what they feel, but they might not want advice so be careful not to give any unsolicited advice.
Be very attentive to what they say and be patient while listening. Keep asking open questions but don’t be pushy or harsh. Try as much as possible to have conversations in person as often as possible.
5. Help Them Find Support
Some people may not be aware that they are dealing with depression, or they may not know how to reach out for support. Even if they know therapy could help, they may be finding it difficult to get a therapist.
If your friend seems interested in seeking help, offer to help them find therapists. You can help them list out the things they want to ask potential therapists and things they want to be addressed in their first therapy session.
6. Support Them To Continue Therapy
Some days, especially on a bad day, they may not feel like leaving the house to go to therapy. Depression can take away their energy and increase their desire to self-isolate.
Also, the medications can have some side effects. If your friend decides to stop taking medication because of bad side effects, be supportive, but also encourage them to talk to their therapists about switching to a different medication or getting off medication entirely.
Suddenly stopping therapy or medication without the supervision of a healthcare provider can have dire consequences.