Dealing with someone with depression is complicated, frustrating, and non-rewarding. However, the lives and mental health of depressed people often depend on the actions of people around them. That’s why it’s vital to be next to your loved one, friend or family member to help them through this tough period.
Learning how to deal with someone with depression isn’t easy. Allowing the condition to progress without help may be lethal. If you suspect that someone around you suffers from depression, it’s up to you to help or at least alert someone, who can.
Depression is a complicated condition, which requires long-term treatment. While medication can ease the symptoms, psychological help is integral. In many cases, the help of a loved one is much more beneficial than professional counseling.
Before learning how to deal with people with depression, it’s important to identify it. Sometimes, depressed people do a great job hiding their feelings. It’s up to their friends, partners, and family members to notice the problem before it becomes dangerous.
If the person you care for suddenly stopped going to favorite seminars, taking on certain (previously loved) projects at work or planning vacations, something may be wrong. Depressed people usually opt out of pleasurable things, which used to require some effort.
Such a person can still do such “quick-fix” tasks as playing video games, watching TV, listening to music. However, anything more complicated can suddenly disappear from his or her life. This can also involve reducing time spent with a loved one or a partner since it requires a certain state of mind, which depressed people lack.
Sleep problems vary. Depressed people often have trouble falling asleep. They also tend to wake up during the night or early in the morning. You may find that the person leaves the bedroom not to disturb the partner’s sleep while waiting for the morning to come.
If you notice such sleep problems, which occur on a regular basis, it’s important to take a closer look at the person.
If the person has unexpectedly changed her or her eating habits, it may be a sign of depression. Depressed people either start eating much less or much more. This may lead to gaining or losing weight, which with time becomes noticeable.
Even the simplest tasks are tough to complete for a depressed person. These people use all their resources and energy just to get through the day. That’s why they often become angry and irritated without a reason.
Inadequate mood changes and reactions to mundane things should make you pay closer attention to the person’s actions.
Depressed people are pessimists. That’s why they usually react in a negative way to your ideas and suggestions. When such pessimistic comments seem to become overwhelming, it’s vital to start reading about how to deal with someone who has depression instead of getting angry and turning away from the person.
At the same time, depressed people have a very low self-esteem. They may blame themselves for everything, which goes wrong around them.
Depressed people often try hard to hide their depression. They come up with cover up stories about a missed dinner or reasons they skipped work. A partner or a family member are in the best position to find out if the person is lying. The overwhelming number of such stories should point to a problem.
Dealing with people with depression is complicated. More often than not partners and family members feel helpless and frustrated when faced with their loved one’s depression. Below are a few things you can do to help.
Finding the right words is often hard. Especially when the person seems to be irritated and locked inside his or her feelings. If you don’t know what to say, just be there. Sit down next to the person, hold hands, and listen.
Being there is among the simplest yet highly efficient things you can do. With time, you’ll see how a person starts to open up.
Once the person starts speaking, learn the technique of compassionate listening. The majority of people try to look for ways to solve their loved ones’ problems, find solutions, suggest actions. All of the above is useless for a depressed person.
The best thing you can do is sit down, hold their hand, look into their eyes, and use such soothing phrases as:
Depressed people are not looking for your judgment. The reason they are depressed may be that they have already judged themselves too severely. Learn to show compassion. It may be tough, frustrating, and seemingly useless, but it does work.
If you are not dealing with a loved one, you may be uncomfortable showing too many compassionate feelings. Consider small gestures, such as cards, text messages, and voicemails with kind words.
You can also consider helping the person do everyday tasks. Depressed people literally force themselves to make it through each day so even the simplest task may seem impossible to complete. By doing grocery shopping, picking up the dry cleaning or helping around the house may help ease their pain.
Depressed people are at a high risk of suicide. If you have the smallest suspicion that such a problem may exist, stay with your loved one at all times. If being around a person is impossible, you can share the watch duty with your friends or family members.
If you feel that you can’t keep the person from making a lethal decision, consider calling for professional help. In the majority of cases, such decisions come after months of depression. If someone stays close to a person as much as possible, the risk of a suicide attempt decreases.
Google, read, ask, watch, and listen. It’s your duty as a partner, parent or friend to find as much information as possible about dealing with depression. An average person doesn’t know much about this condition. It’s very easy to hurt someone, who is depressed, and worsen the symptoms.
In order to be armed with the latest depression fighting techniques, you have to find time to learn new information.
Invite your depressed partner or friend out. Depressed people often try to stay as secluded as possible, hiding from the outside world. Meanwhile, they desperately need to do things they used to enjoy and interact with other people.
Set up an exciting event or date to take your friend out. Even if he or she says “no” at first, try again. Avoid pushing. Exercise gentle nudging instead. Think about incentive (even if it’s “If you go, I’ll get off your back”).
If the person doesn’t want to meet other people, offer a walk in the park or a morning jog. Anything you do to help a person move is beneficial.
You may not be strong and patient enough to battle someone’s depression on your own. You don’t have to be. It’s a tough job, which takes a long time and lacks immediate results. Encourage the person to reach out to others. Talk to other family members, friends, and co-workers.
Doing it alone is tough. Having a group of people dealing with one person’s depression can yield faster results.
No matter how much you would like the person to go to a doctor, he or she is unlikely to choose this path. Unfortunately, unless your loved one is ready to get help, you can’t force them to do it. It’s up to you to gently push the person toward the right decision.
The internet makes it easy to get online counseling services or pass depression tests to find out if someone needs professional help. Be extremely delicate about the way you present this information. Pushing a depressed person to do something usually has a reverse effect.
People who are close to someone with depression are also prone to this condition. Pay close attention to your own feelings. Make sure you pamper yourself. Continue doing things you’ve enjoyed before even if your loved one doesn’t join you.
Consider talking to a counselor yourself. A professional can give you important advice. A one-hour session with a good counselor can replace weeks of internet research because you’ll be talking about a particular case.
Research places where you can get urgent assistance in case your loved one’s depression is getting out of control. In the UK, it’s NHS 111. In the USA, it’s Lifeline Chat (both online and off). In Canada, it’s 408-HELP line.
Even if you don’t think this may happen to you, it might. It’s better to be equipped with the right information in advance.
Instead of trying to find out how to deal with someone with anxiety and depression, many people believe they can fix the problem their own way. These actions often lead to worsening of the condition, frustration, and feeling of helplessness. Below are seven mistakes you should never make.
Unless you’ve been depressed yourself, never tell a depressed person that you know how it feels. Your best intentions may sound hurtful to the person and result in alienation. It’s better to use such phrases as “I want to be there for you” and “You are not alone”.
Even if you feel you know exactly what a person should be doing, stop yourself from commenting. Many depressed people feel insulted when someone offers advice. It can cause them to detach. The only thing you can do is to push the person toward making the right decision in a gentle and slow manner.
Judging and criticizing are two sure methods to make your loved one even more depressed. Criticism can isolate the person further, making it harder to offer help. Judgments won’t heal depression or rectify the situation.
Trying to “snap” the person out of depression by making threats to leave is the worst thing a partner can do. Depression is not hiccups. Snapping out of it isn’t possible. It’s a long road to recovery, which shouldn’t be hindered by the wrong decision of someone a person trusts.
Don’t shame a person for being negative. It’s not his or her will. View depression as a disease. You don’t shame people for lying down when they have a high temperature. Why do you shame a person for being negative when depressed? Shaming doesn’t help. It only hurts.
Dealing with a partner with depression is tough. You are used to doing everything together. Now, your depressed loved one wants to stay home and wallow in his or her misery. Don’t be a copycat. It’s up to you to get the person outside. You need to become a leader in the relationship even if you’ve never played that role before.
Phrases like “what a beautiful day” and “where is that cute smile?” won’t cheer a depressed person up. Just the opposite, they sound annoying. Depressed people may feel sad and guilty about their inability to share your cheer. Offer them to take a walk instead.
Learning how to deal with someone with depression is tough, frustrating, and annoying. However, not too many people can fight depression alone. It may be up to you to help your loved one. Don’t hesitate to try.