What To Do When a Loved One Is Suffering From Depression
When a loved one is suffering from depression it can be hard to know what you can do to help them. The mental health condition, which Mind suggests affects 2.6 in every 100 people, can be complex and difficult for non-suffers to fully understand. But emotional support from friends and family (alongside professional treatment) is a key component in recovery for those suffering from depression. Here are just a few of the ways that you can help and support someone you know who is suffering from depression.
One of the best things you can do is equip yourself with the knowledge to understand the condition and giveaway signs that someone might be suffering. Is your friend or family member constantly tired, stressed or show little interest in doing things that they used to enjoy? Do they appear withdrawn? Have they spoken about feeling hopeless or unwell with headaches or nausea? Recognising the symptoms is important but having a good understanding of the nature of the condition and the way is can affect the daily life and emotions of sufferers is important too.
It's not uncommon to feel helpless if you have a loved one suffering from depression. Such an internalised condition can make it seem as if the person is beyond your reach. But never underestimate the importance that a listening ear can have. Being a non-judgemental outlet for your loved one is so valuable. It allows them to outpour some of the negative emotions they are experiencing which can be extremely cathartic and also indicates that they are open to seeking help and support. That said, you are dealing with a medical condition and this can often be a lot trickier to deal with that simply offering a shoulder to cry on. For that reason it is important that through your dialogue you gradually explore the option of them seeking...
Encouraging them to seek professional help is usually one of the most important things you can do to help them on their road to recovery. Many types of treatment exist for depression. For some, talking therapy such as counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) attempts to challenge the problematic thought processes that can lead to depression with a view to creating a more positive outlook. A chemical imbalance is also thought to be a major contributor to depression and so some sufferers may need to take antidepressants to stabilise their mood – this is particularly true for those who suffer from prolonged or recurring episodes. A loved one may feel anxious about seeking medical help but it's important that you keep reminding them that a qualified doctor our counsellor is the best person to help them get better.
Help out...but not too much
Those suffering from depression can often lose the motivation and inclination to complete even the most basic of daily tasks. Help them out with things like housework so it doesn't become overwhelming to them. But don't do too much – it is important that they are encouraged to keep going in order to preserve their own sense of responsibility and self esteem. You can also help them to build a healthier lifestyle for themselves. With good diet and regular exercise being hailed as two of the most important natural remedies for aiding in the treatment of depression, it is important to establish a healthy regime. Perhaps you could suggest joining a gym together or simply going for daily walks?
No silly comments
However frustrated you may feel at times, always think before you speak. You might not be able to fully understand what your loved one is going through but telling someone to 'pull themselves together' or 'things aren't that bad' is extremely damaging to a sufferer and just alienates them further. Try to view depression as a physical condition like a broken leg – it isn't something that can be repaired without treatment and time. It might not be as visible but it is still as real so always speak with kindness and support.
Being the support network of a depression sufferer can be tough and emotionally draining so remember to take time out to care for yourself too. Plenty of support exists for carers, family and friends of those suffering from depression where you can speak to others in similar situations and seek guidance from professionals. Do not neglect your own needs in your quest to help someone else – ultimately you need to be strong for the pair of your and self care if the only ways to achieve this.
Post Written by Anne Farns